Home >> Alaska >> Fairbanks >> Interior Design Degrees


Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Fairbanks AK

How to Pick the Best Interior Designer Degree Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Fairbanks AK, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you start? A number of future students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.

Start Your Interior Design Career By Requesting Free Info on Local Schools Below

Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Fairbanks AK

Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The key distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Fairbanks AK may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Fairbanks Alaska interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new profession in Fairbanks AK. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at many Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Fairbanks Alaska interior designer bathroomOnce you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Fairbanks AK residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Fairbanks Alaska employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Fairbanks AK college you select should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a large network of Fairbanks AK business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Fairbanks AK schools you are looking at and find out what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Fairbanks AK schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Fairbanks home, go to the school and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Fairbanks AK, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design College near Fairbanks Alaska

interior designed kitchen in Fairbanks AlaskaSelecting the right interior design program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are several things to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fairbanks Alaska.