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How to Select the Right Interior Design Program Soldotna 99669

interior designed Soldotna AK family roomNow that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Soldotna AK, it’s time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it’s imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several 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 very important that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you start? A number of potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.

Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

commercial interior designed Soldotna AK conference roomSome people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Soldotna AK can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Soldotna AK interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.

Interior Design Training Programs

interior designed kitchen in Soldotna AKThere are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new career in Soldotna AK. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide 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 required in some 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 roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master’s Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Online Interior Design Schools

woman attending interior design school online in Soldotna AKFor individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Soldotna AK homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have busy 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 many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school 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 distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs

Questions to ask Soldotna AK interior design coursesOnce you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Soldotna AK residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It’s imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. 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 undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify 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 accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Soldotna AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the Program 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) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Soldotna AK college you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet 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 obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Soldotna AK business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Soldotna AK colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Soldotna AK programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Soldotna home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Soldotna AK, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Enrolling in an Interior Design School near Soldotna AK?

Perhaps you are considering attending an interior design degree program in the Soldotna Alaska area.  If so, you may find the following information about the location of your new school campus interesting and informative.

Soldotna, Alaska

Soldotna is a home rule[5] city in the Kenai Peninsula Borough, in the U.S. state of Alaska. At the 2010 census the population was 4,163, up from 3,759 in 2000. It is the seat of the Kenai Peninsula Borough.

Soldotna is located in the Southcentral portion of Alaska on the central-western portion of the Kenai Peninsula. The city limits span 7 square miles along the Kenai River, which empties into the Cook Inlet in the nearby city of Kenai. The Kenai River was selected by CNN Travel as one of the "World's 15 Best Rivers for Travelers," due to its fishing and hunting opportunities.[6] Soldotna is located on the western edge of the vast Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, a protected area spanning nearly 2 million acres and home to bears, moose, caribou, sheep, and many fish and bird species.

The city is located at the junction of the Sterling Highway and the Kenai Spur Highway, which has enabled Soldotna to develop as a service and retail hub for the Central Peninsula as well as for travelers between Anchorage and Homer. The Central Peninsula Hospital serves the medical needs of the region's residents and tourists. The Kenai Peninsula College, a branch of the University of Alaska Anchorage, operates the Kenai River Campus in Soldotna. Additionally, the headquarters of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, the Kenai Peninsula Borough, and the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District are located in the city.

Choose the Right Interior Design School near Soldotna AK

Soldotna AK interior designed bathroomChoosing the ideal interior design school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. You originally came upon this website because you had an initial interest in Home Interior Design Colleges. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Soldotna AK.

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