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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Fairbanks AK

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Degree Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Fairbanks AK, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But exactly where do you begin? A number of future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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 offered.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Fairbanks AK

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The main difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Fairbanks AK may specialize in:

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

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Fairbanks Alaska interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new career in Fairbanks AK. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at many Alaska trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Degree Programs

Fairbanks AK student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Fairbanks AK homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school has to be within commuting 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 may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry 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 verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Fairbanks Alaska employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep 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) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Fairbanks AK college you select should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance 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 held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Fairbanks AK business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Fairbanks AK colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Fairbanks AK programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Fairbanks home, go to the campus and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Fairbanks AK, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Design Program near Fairbanks Alaska

interior designed kitchen in Fairbanks AlaskaSelecting the ideal interior design college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are several points to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fairbanks Alaska.