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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Aliso Viejo CA

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Designer Degree Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Aliso Viejo CA, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you start? Some potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account as well. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you must ask 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 alternatives are offered.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Aliso Viejo CA

Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The principal distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Aliso Viejo CA may 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, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Aliso Viejo California interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training required to start your new career in Aliso Viejo CA. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required 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 brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at many California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment 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 components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

What to Ask Interior Design Schools

Aliso Viejo California interior designer bathroomOnce you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Aliso Viejo CA home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Aliso Viejo California employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Aliso Viejo CA college you enroll in should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Aliso Viejo CA business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Aliso Viejo CA colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Aliso Viejo CA colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Aliso Viejo home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out 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 Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Aliso Viejo CA, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Design Program near Aliso Viejo California

interior designed kitchen in Aliso Viejo CaliforniaSelecting the right interior designer program is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are many factors to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Aliso Viejo California.