How to Pick the Right Interior Designer College near Palmer Alaska
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Palmer AK, it’s time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it’s imperative that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s vital that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? Many potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.
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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many 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 areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Palmer AK can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Palmer AK interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training required to launch your new profession in Palmer AK. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest 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 attaining a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Palmer AK homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. 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 option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Palmer AK residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It’s necessary to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Palmer AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become 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 college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Palmer AK college you select should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a substantial network of Palmer AK business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Palmer AK schools you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Palmer AK schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Palmer home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. While there talk with some 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Palmer AK, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Best Online Interior Design Degree Programs Palmer AK
Picking the ideal interior designer school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several points to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. You originally came upon this website because you had an interest in Best Online Interior Design Degree Programs and wanted more info on the topic Home Study Interior Design. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Palmer AK.
Other Alaska Designer Locations
Palmer is a city in and the borough seat of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. It is part of the Anchorage Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 5,937.
The first people to live in the Matanuska Valley, where Palmer is located, were the Dena'ina and Ahtna Athabaskans. They moved throughout the area, living a subsistence lifestyle and trading with other native groups. Their trade routes were along the Matanuska River. Russians came to Alaska in 1741 and brought the Russian Orthodox religious tradition to the indigenous peoples of the region. In the early 1890s, an entrepreneur named George W. Palmer built a trading post on the Matanuska River, near present-day Palmer. The town was later named after Palmer.
In the late 19th century, the U.S. government began to take interest in the Matanuska coal fields located north of Palmer. This interest sparked financiers to consider constructing the Alaska Central Railroad in 1904. The advent of World War I created a need for high quality coal to fuel U.S. battleships, and by 1917 the US Navy had constructed rail from the port of Seward to the Chickaloon coal deposits. At the end of World War I, the U.S. Navy distributed land in the coal fields to war veterans and additional land was opened to homesteading. Farmers, miners and homesteaders began to populate the area. The Palmer Post Office was opened July 6, 1917 under the name of Warton. With railroad accessibility, new markets for agriculture began to open up for farmers in the Matanuska Valley.
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