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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Fairbanks AK

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Degree Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Fairbanks AK, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But exactly where do you begin? Some potential students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Fairbanks AK

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The main difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Fairbanks AK may specialize in:

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

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Fairbanks Alaska interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training required to begin your new profession in Fairbanks AK. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Alaska trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Why Study to Become an Interior Designer?

Fairbanks AK student attending interior design school onlineThere are many options available to you once you graduate and enter the field of interior design.  If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit you may become self-employed and open your own interior design shop. You might also work for a small or larger design firm. Designers have careers creating interiors for businesses, hospitals, government buildings, as well as private residences. Rarely is a design career a 9 to 5 job. You’ll need to be flexible, patient, and persistent to get your career off the ground. But you will have the opportunity to earn an attractive income as well as the personal satisfaction of creating beautiful living and working spaces.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Fairbanks AK home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Fairbanks Alaska employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So besides providing an excellent education, the Fairbanks AK program you select should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Fairbanks AK business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Fairbanks AK colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Fairbanks AK colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Fairbanks home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Fairbanks AK, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Best Interior Designer College near Fairbanks Alaska

interior designed kitchen in Fairbanks AlaskaSelecting the ideal interior designer school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Finding a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fairbanks Alaska.