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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Anaheim CA

How to Choose the Best Interior Designer School

Now that 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 proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But where do you begin? Many potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, 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 compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Anaheim CA

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Anaheim CA can specialize in:

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

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

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new profession in Anaheim CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain 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 several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Anaheim California interior designer bathroomAfter you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Anaheim CA residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional 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 a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Anaheim California employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get 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 school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Anaheim CA school you choose should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Anaheim CA business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Anaheim CA schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Anaheim CA colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Anaheim home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain 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 attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Anaheim CA, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Best Interior Design Program near Anaheim California

interior designed kitchen in Anaheim CaliforniaChoosing the ideal interior design school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several points to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still imperative 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 colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Anaheim California.