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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Anaheim CA

How to Pick the Right Interior Design School

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Anaheim CA, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you start? Some future students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Anaheim CA

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The primary difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires 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 educated to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Anaheim CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically 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 commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Anaheim California interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new profession in Anaheim CA. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure 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 alternatives in specialized majors for such things 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 wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Anaheim California interior designer bathroomAfter you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Anaheim CA home. Naturally 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 expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Anaheim California employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some 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 program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Anaheim CA program you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need 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 higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Anaheim CA business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Anaheim CA colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Anaheim CA programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Anaheim home, visit the college and attend a few classes. While there talk with some students and find out 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Anaheim CA, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Choose the Best Interior Design School near Anaheim California

interior designed kitchen in Anaheim CaliforniaPicking the ideal interior design school is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several points 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 regarded in the business. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Anaheim California.