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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Aliso Viejo CA

How to Select the Best Interior Design Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Aliso Viejo CA, 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 important that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you begin? A number of potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Aliso Viejo CA

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The principal distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Aliso Viejo CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. 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 may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

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

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training required to start your new career in Aliso Viejo CA. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically 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 colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Why Study to Become an Interior Designer?

Aliso Viejo CA student attending interior design school onlineThere are many options available to you once you graduate and enter the field of interior design.  If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit you may become self-employed and open your own interior design shop. You might also work for a small or larger design firm. Designers have careers creating interiors for businesses, hospitals, government buildings, as well as private residences. Rarely is a design career a 9 to 5 job. You’ll need to be flexible, patient, and persistent to get your career off the ground. But you will have the opportunity to earn an attractive income as well as the personal satisfaction of creating beautiful living and working spaces.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Aliso Viejo CA residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the college and the degree program 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 outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Aliso Viejo California employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Aliso Viejo CA school you choose should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, 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 sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a significant network of Aliso Viejo CA business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Aliso Viejo CA colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Aliso Viejo CA schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Aliso Viejo home, go to the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Aliso Viejo CA, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Best Interior Designer School near Aliso Viejo California

interior designed kitchen in Aliso Viejo CaliforniaChoosing the ideal interior design program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many points to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Aliso Viejo California.