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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Juneau AK

How to Find the Right Interior Designer Course

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Juneau 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 interiors, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But where do you start? Some potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Juneau AK

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The principal difference between them is the level 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, working 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 taught to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Juneau AK may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

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

Interior Design Training Programs

There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new career in Juneau AK. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alaska trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs 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 creative and technical aspects of the business required 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 two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options 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 primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Juneau Alaska interior designer bathroomAfter you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Juneau AK home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer college and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may 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 hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate 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 program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Juneau AK college you enroll in should also provide the suitable training 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 School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Juneau AK business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Juneau AK colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Juneau AK schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Juneau home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to 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 enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Right Interior Design Program near Juneau Alaska

interior designed kitchen in Juneau AlaskaPicking the right interior designer college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are a number of 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 respected in the profession. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Juneau Alaska.