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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Juneau AK

How to Select the Right Interior Designer Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college 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 spaces, 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 may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But where do you start? A number of future students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in 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 alternatives are available.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Juneau AK

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

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms 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 numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design 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 contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new profession in Juneau AK. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alaska trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs

Juneau Alaska interior designer bathroomWhen you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school must 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 narrow down your options as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish 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 offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Juneau Alaska employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate 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 college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Juneau AK school you choose should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill 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 received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance 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 profession and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a large network of Juneau AK business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Juneau AK schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Juneau AK programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Juneau home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and find out 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 Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Juneau AK, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School near Juneau Alaska

interior designed kitchen in Juneau AlaskaChoosing the right interior design school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are several things to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still essential 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 assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Juneau Alaska.