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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Fairbanks AK

How to Choose the Right Interior Design Degree Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school 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 receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But where do you start? Some prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Fairbanks AK

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The primary distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Fairbanks AK can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate 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 hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Fairbanks Alaska interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new profession in Fairbanks AK. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Classes

Fairbanks AK student attending interior design school onlineFor anyone wishing to attend classes in the convenience of their Fairbanks AK homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Fairbanks AK home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you choose 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). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Fairbanks Alaska employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Fairbanks AK school you choose should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a substantial network of Fairbanks AK business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Fairbanks AK schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Fairbanks AK schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Fairbanks home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly 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 working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design Program near Fairbanks Alaska

interior designed kitchen in Fairbanks AlaskaSelecting the ideal interior designer program is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many points to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fairbanks Alaska.