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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Juneau AK

How to Select the Right Interior Designer Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Juneau AK, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be 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 so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But exactly where do you begin? Many future students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration 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 first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Juneau AK

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The key distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Juneau AK may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often 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 concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Juneau Alaska interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new profession in Juneau AK. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to 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 qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alaska community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish 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 minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

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

Why Study to Become an Interior Designer?

Juneau 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 Colleges

Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Juneau AK home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Juneau Alaska employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Juneau AK college you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a sizable network of Juneau AK business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Juneau AK schools you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Juneau AK programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Juneau home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. While there 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? Finally, confirm that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Juneau AK, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design Program near Juneau Alaska

interior designed kitchen in Juneau AlaskaPicking the right interior designer school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several factors to consider 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 field. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Juneau Alaska.