Home >> California >> Altadena >> Interior Design Courses


Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Altadena CA

How to Find the Best Interior Designer Course

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college 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 essential that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you begin? A number of potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in 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 available.

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

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The primary difference between them is the amount of training required. Any person can work 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 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 residential areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Altadena CA can specialize in:

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

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Altadena California interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new career in Altadena CA. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have 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 needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer 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 degrees are largely 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.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

What to Ask Interior Design Schools

Altadena California interior designer bathroomNow that you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Altadena CA home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Altadena California employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of 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 some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Altadena CA college you enroll in should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing 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 design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Altadena CA business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Altadena CA colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Altadena CA schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Altadena home, go to the campus and attend 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 philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Altadena CA, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design College near Altadena California

interior designed kitchen in Altadena CaliforniaChoosing the right interior designer program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are many things to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. 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 reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Altadena California.