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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Juneau AK

How to Select the Right Interior Design School

Now that you have made a decision 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 imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But just where do you start? A number of future students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, 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 Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Juneau AK

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

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

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

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new career in Juneau AK. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alaska community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Why Train 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.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools

After you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Juneau AK residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer program and school 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). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify 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 outstanding, 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 schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Juneau AK college you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction 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 School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a large network of Juneau AK business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Juneau AK schools you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Juneau AK schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Juneau home, visit the college 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 backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Juneau AK, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School near Juneau Alaska

interior designed kitchen in Juneau AlaskaSelecting the ideal interior designer school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many things to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Juneau Alaska.