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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Altadena CA

How to Find the Best Interior Design Course

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Altadena CA, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? Many prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Altadena CA

Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The principal difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories 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 essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality 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 focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

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

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new career in Altadena CA. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical 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 job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training 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 the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Altadena California interior designer bathroomAfter you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Altadena CA home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Altadena California employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Altadena CA school you choose should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Altadena CA business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Altadena CA schools you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Altadena CA colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Altadena home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Altadena CA, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer School near Altadena California

interior designed kitchen in Altadena CaliforniaChoosing the right interior design school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several points to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed 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 review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Altadena California.