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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Juneau AK

How to Find the Right Interior Designer Degree Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Juneau AK, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But just where do you begin? Many future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Juneau AK

Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The key difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Juneau AK can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently 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 can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Juneau Alaska interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new profession in Juneau AK. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Alaska trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain 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 offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Interior Designer Online Classes

Juneau AK student attending interior design school onlineFor anyone wishing to attend classes in the comfort of their Juneau AK homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs 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. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Juneau AK home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design school and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national 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 an extensive evaluation 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 agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Juneau Alaska employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Juneau AK school you select should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet 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 want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a large network of Juneau AK business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Juneau AK schools you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Juneau AK schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Juneau home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Juneau AK, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Best Interior Designer Program near Juneau Alaska

interior designed kitchen in Juneau AlaskaSelecting the ideal interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Juneau Alaska.