How to Select an Interior Design Course near Girdwood Alaska
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Girdwood AK, it’s time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s imperative that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s vital that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. But just where do you start? A number of future students will begin their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Girdwood AK may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Girdwood AK interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new profession in Girdwood AK. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alaska trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For anyone wishing’ to study in the comfort of their Girdwood AK homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive 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 school may be the perfect alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Girdwood AK home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It’s important to verify that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Girdwood AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Girdwood AK school you enroll in should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Girdwood AK business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Girdwood AK colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior design schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help 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 cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Girdwood AK colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Girdwood home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Girdwood AK, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Girdwood AK?
Girdwood is a resort town within the southern extent of the Municipality of Anchorage in the state of Alaska. Located near the end of the Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet, Girdwood lies in a valley in the southwestern Chugach Mountains, surrounded by seven glaciers feeding into a number of creeks, which either converge within the valley or empty directly into the arm. Girdwood is typically accessed by the Seward Highway (Milepost 90), with the main line of the Alaska Railroad paralleling the highway. By road distance, most of the community lies within 35 to 40 miles (56 to 64 km) of downtown Anchorage. According to 2014 estimates, a little under 2,000 people live in the valley.
Founded as a community to supply miners during the Turnagain Arm gold rushes of the 1890s, Girdwood was mostly a small, quiet place until the middle of the 20th century. Two events drastically altered that. The first was the establishment of Alyeska Resort along the slopes of Mount Alyeska, which became an international destination coincidental with Anchorage's civic promotion of itself as "The Air Crossroads of the World". The second was the 1964 earthquake, which devastated the original townsite located directly along the arm. Following the earthquake, most of the town moved further up the valley to a new townsite, though a few homes remained and a strip mall was later constructed along the Seward Highway. Historically dominated in the years since the resort's opening by seasonally-occupied vacation homes and seasonal activity at the resort, the opening of the Alyeska Prince Hotel during the 1990s has shifted the resort, and hence Girdwood as a whole, more towards year-round activity and a year-round economy. This has led to periodic debates about community growth and affordability of housing for resort workers, many of whom over the years have resorted to camping illegally on public lands.
Girdwood still revolves heavily around seasonal activity, with skiing and snowboarding at Alyeska Resort bringing visitors and their money into the community. Summer activities are also popular, which include hiking, fishing and rafting. The Girdwood Forest Fair, held every July, is the community's most significant visitor attraction apart from resort-related activities. Girdwood is located within the northernmost extent of rain forest on Earth, and also serves as the closest point of access to Chugach National Forest from Anchorage proper.
Pick the Ideal Interior Design School near Girdwood AK
Choosing the ideal interior design program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to recieve an advanced education, there are several things to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Girdwood AK.
More Awesome Cities in Alaska