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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Aliso Viejo CA

How to Choose the Best Interior Design College

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Aliso Viejo CA, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you start? Some future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. We will cover those topics and other crucial 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 class alternatives are offered.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Aliso Viejo CA

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The main difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business 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 attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Aliso Viejo CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need 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 implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new career in Aliso Viejo CA. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered 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 deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

What to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Aliso Viejo California interior designer bathroomAfter you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Aliso Viejo CA home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer college and program 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding 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 agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Aliso Viejo California employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Aliso Viejo CA college you select should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at 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 highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Aliso Viejo CA business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Aliso Viejo CA schools you are reviewing and ask what type of support they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Aliso Viejo CA schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Aliso Viejo home, visit the campus and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Aliso Viejo CA, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design Program near Aliso Viejo California

interior designed kitchen in Aliso Viejo CaliforniaSelecting the right interior designer program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many points to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. 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 colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Aliso Viejo California.