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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Juneau AK

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Course

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Juneau AK, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But where do you begin? Many future students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching 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 vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Juneau AK

Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The principal difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Juneau AK can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Juneau Alaska interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new profession in Juneau AK. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations 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 finish and programs are available at numerous Alaska trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business required 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 two year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish 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 as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Why Do You Want to Be 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.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges

After you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college must be within driving 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 expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you choose has been accredited by 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Juneau Alaska employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate 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 requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Juneau AK college you select should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a large network of Juneau AK business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Juneau AK colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask 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 monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some 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? Last, make sure that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly 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 offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll 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.

Choose the Right Interior Designer College near Juneau Alaska

interior designed kitchen in Juneau AlaskaPicking the right interior designer college is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several points to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Juneau Alaska.