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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Juneau AK

How to Choose the Right Interior Design School

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Juneau AK, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you start? Many potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. We will address those topics and other vital 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 available.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Juneau AK

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

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

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

Interior Design Training Programs

There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new profession in Juneau AK. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure 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 a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short 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 field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alaska community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth 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 credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Schools

Juneau AK student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Juneau AK homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs

Once you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Juneau AK residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded 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 make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish 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 offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Juneau Alaska employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Juneau AK program you enroll in should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Juneau AK business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Juneau AK colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate 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 considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Juneau home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some 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 Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Juneau AK, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design College near Juneau Alaska

interior designed kitchen in Juneau AlaskaPicking the right interior design college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several points to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Juneau Alaska.