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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Juneau AK

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Designer School

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Juneau AK, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you get the proper training to put your skills 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 proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But where do you start? Many future students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Juneau AK

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The primary difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Juneau AK can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Juneau Alaska interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new career in Juneau AK. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alaska trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree 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 design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

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

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Juneau Alaska interior designer bathroomAfter you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Juneau AK residence. 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 fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you select has earned accreditation from 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Juneau Alaska employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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 as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Juneau AK program you enroll in should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a significant network of Juneau AK business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Juneau AK schools you are looking at and ask what type of support they provide. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Juneau AK programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Juneau home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Juneau AK, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Designer College near Juneau Alaska

interior designed kitchen in Juneau AlaskaPicking the right interior designer program is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several points to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Juneau Alaska.