Home >> California >> Altadena >> Interior Design Classes


Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Altadena CA

How to Choose the Right Interior Designer College

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Altadena CA, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of potential students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you must ask 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 training alternatives are offered.

Start Your Interior Design Career By Requesting Free Info on Local Schools Below

Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Altadena CA

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The key distinction between the two is the level of education 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, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Altadena CA may specialize in:

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

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Altadena California interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training required to launch your new career in Altadena CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be addressed 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 education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business required 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 acquiring a 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 improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who wish 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 professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Online Interior Design Colleges

Altadena CA student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Altadena CA homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only alternative 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 costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, 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 online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Schools

Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Altadena CA residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design school and program that you choose has been accredited by 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Altadena California employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require 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 mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Altadena CA college you select should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing 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 no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Altadena CA business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Altadena CA colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Altadena CA colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Altadena home, visit the campus and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and ask 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Altadena CA, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer College near Altadena California

interior designed kitchen in Altadena CaliforniaPicking the right interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Altadena California.