How to Find the Right Interior Design College near Fort Richardson Alaska
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Fort Richardson AK, it’s time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it’s essential that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it’s essential that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you start? A number of potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.
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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Fort Richardson AK may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Fort Richardson AK interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new career in Fort Richardson AK. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make 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 discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at many Alaska trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain 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 creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree 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 acquiring a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally 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 field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Fort Richardson AK homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great 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 laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
When you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Fort Richardson AK residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It’s necessary to verify that the interior designer program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation 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 education are excellent, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Fort Richardson AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become 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 calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Fort Richardson AK program you enroll in should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the State where you will be working.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges 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 an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Fort Richardson AK business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Fort Richardson AK schools you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller 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 Fort Richardson AK schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Fort Richardson home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Fort Richardson AK, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Colleges With Interior Design Programs Fort Richardson AK
Choosing the ideal interior designer program is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. You originally came upon this website because you had an interest in Colleges With Interior Design Programs and wanted more info on the topic Bachelor Of Science In Interior Design. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review 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 Fort Richardson AK.
Other Alaska Designer Locations
Fort Richardson (Alaska)
Fort Richardson is a United States Army installation in the U.S. state of Alaska, adjacent to the city of Anchorage. In 2010, it was merged with nearby Elmendorf Air Force Base to form Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
Fort Richardson was named for the military pioneer explorer, Brig. Gen. Wilds P. Richardson, who served three tours of duty in the rugged Alaska territory between 1897 and 1917. Richardson, a native Texan and an 1884 West Point graduate, commanded troops along the Yukon River and supervised construction of Fort Egbert near Eagle, and Fort William H. Seward (Chilkoot Barracks) near Haines. As head of the War Department's Alaska Road Commission from 1905 to 1917, he was responsible for much of the surveying and building of early railroads, roads and bridges that helped the state’s settlement and growth. The Valdez-Fairbanks Trail, surveyed under his direction in 1904, was named the Richardson Highway in his honor.
During World War II, Fort Richardson was used briefly as a holding center for several family members of Alaskan Japanese Americans arrested after Pearl Harbor. Fifteen Japanese Americans and two German Americans were interned here before being transferred to other camps. Built during 1940-1941 on the site of what is now Elmendorf Air Force Base and established as the headquarters of the United States Army, Alaska (USARAK) in 1947, the post moved to its present location five miles (8 km) northeast of Anchorage in 1950. The post then had barracks for 500 soldiers, a rifle range, a few warehouses, a hospital, and bachelor officer quarters. From 1986-1994 the fort was headquarters of the 6th Infantry Division (Light). Fort Richardson is now headquarters for United States Army Alaska (USARAK), a subordinate unit of United States Army Pacific Command. For more than a decade, the major combat unit at Fort Richardson was Task Force 1-501, the only airborne infantry battalion in the Pacific Theater. Task Force 1-501 deployed to Afghanistan from October 2003 through August 2004.
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