How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer College near Willow Alaska
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Willow AK, it’s time to begin 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 natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it’s essential that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final choice. But where do you begin? Some potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
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Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Willow AK can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Willow AK interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new career in Willow AK. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business needed 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 two year programs supply advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. 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 university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Willow AK homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Willow AK home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It’s imperative to verify that the interior design program and school that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional 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 gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Willow AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Willow AK school you select should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill 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 earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Willow AK business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Willow AK colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Willow AK schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Willow home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Willow AK, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend 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.
Accredited Interior Design Programs Online Willow AK
Picking the ideal interior designer program is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are many factors to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. You originally came upon this website because you had an interest in Accredited Interior Design Programs Online and wanted more info on the topic Best Interior Design Schools. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Willow AK.
Other Alaska Designer Locations
Willow is a census-designated place (CDP) in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. It is part of the Anchorage, Alaska Metropolitan Statistical Area. At the 2010 census the population was 2,102, up from 1,658 in 2000.
The community got its start in 1897 when miners discovered gold on Willow Creek. Ships and boats brought supplies and equipment up Cook Inlet, landing at Knik or Tyonek. From Knik, a 26-mile summer trail went northwesterly. The trail along Willow Creek heading east became Hatcher Pass Road, currently an adventurous scenic road used during the summer tour season.
Around 1970, before construction of the Parks Highway, Willow had a population of 78 until land disposals, homestead subdivisions, and completion of the George Parks Highway in 1972 fueled growth in the area.