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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Anaheim CA

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Degree Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Anaheim CA, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? A number of potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables 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 address those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching 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 options are available.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Anaheim CA

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The primary distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Anaheim CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, 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 spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Anaheim California interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new career in Anaheim CA. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at a number of California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain 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 technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Designer Online Colleges

Anaheim CA student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Anaheim CA homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, 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 education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools

After you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Anaheim CA home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Anaheim California employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Anaheim CA school you select should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt need 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 higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Anaheim CA business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Anaheim CA colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Anaheim CA programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Anaheim home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Anaheim CA, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Best Interior Design School near Anaheim California

interior designed kitchen in Anaheim CaliforniaSelecting the ideal interior design college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Anaheim California.