How to Find the Best Interior Design Degree Program near Homer Alaska
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Homer AK, it’s time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it’s imperative that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it’s very important that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you start? Some future students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you should be asking 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 choices are available.
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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Homer AK can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently 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 dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Homer AK interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new profession in Homer AK. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alaska community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five 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 some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For students who to study in the convenience of their Homer AK homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great option 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 laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Homer AK residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It’s essential to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Homer AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require 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 calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Homer AK school you enroll in should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Homer AK business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Homer AK colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Homer AK colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Homer home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Homer AK, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Becoming A Interior Designer Homer AK
Choosing the ideal interior design school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many points to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. You originally came upon this website because you had an interest in Becoming A Interior Designer and wanted more info on the topic Degree Needed For Interior Design. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review 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 reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Homer AK.
Other Alaska Designer Locations
Homer is a city in Kenai Peninsula Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. It is 218 miles southwest of Anchorage. According to the 2010 Census, the population is 5,003, up from 3,946 in 2000. Long known as The "Halibut Fishing Capital of the World." Homer is also nicknamed "the end of the road," and more recently, "the cosmic hamlet by the sea."
Homer is on the shore of Kachemak Bay on the southwest side of the Kenai Peninsula. Its distinguishing feature is the Homer Spit, a narrow 4.5 mi (7.2 km)) long gravel bar that extends into the bay, on which is located the Homer Harbor.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 22.4 square miles (58 km2), of which 10.6 square miles (27 km2) is land and 11.9 square miles (31 km2) is water. The total area is 52.83% water.