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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Anaheim CA

How to Choose the Right Interior Design Degree Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Anaheim CA, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your natural abilities 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 vital that you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? A number of future students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Anaheim CA

Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The primary distinction between them is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Anaheim CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Anaheim California interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new profession in Anaheim CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt 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) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment 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 required 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 two year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Anaheim California interior designer bathroomNow that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Anaheim CA home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Anaheim California employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the School Ready 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Anaheim CA program you select should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Anaheim CA business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Anaheim CA schools you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Anaheim CA colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Anaheim 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 philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Anaheim 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, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design College near Anaheim California

interior designed kitchen in Anaheim CaliforniaChoosing the right interior design school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several factors to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Anaheim California.