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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Aliso Viejo CA

How to Choose the Best Interior Design Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Aliso Viejo CA, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you start? A number of future students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges 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 reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, 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 compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Aliso Viejo CA

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The main difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces 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 can specialize in:

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

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

Interior Design Degrees

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new profession in Aliso Viejo CA. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam 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 available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at many California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum 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 supply advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take 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.

What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Aliso Viejo CA residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their instructors 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 training are excellent, it may also help when securing financial aid 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 require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Aliso Viejo CA college you select should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Aliso Viejo CA business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Aliso Viejo CA schools you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Aliso Viejo CA schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Aliso Viejo home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Aliso Viejo CA, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design School near Aliso Viejo California

interior designed kitchen in Aliso Viejo CaliforniaSelecting the right interior designer school is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Finding a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several things to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Aliso Viejo California.