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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Anaheim CA

How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Degree Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Anaheim CA, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But just where do you begin? Some future students will begin their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Anaheim CA

Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Anaheim CA can specialize in:

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

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example 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 picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Anaheim California interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new career in Anaheim CA. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional 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 field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Why Train to Become an Interior Designer?

Anaheim CA student attending interior design school onlineThere are many options available to you once you graduate and enter the field of interior design.  If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit you may become self-employed and open your own interior design shop. You might also work for a small or larger design firm. Designers have careers creating interiors for businesses, hospitals, government buildings, as well as private residences. Rarely is a design career a 9 to 5 job. You’ll need to be flexible, patient, and persistent to get your career off the ground. But you will have the opportunity to earn an attractive income as well as the personal satisfaction of creating beautiful living and working spaces.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Anaheim CA residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected 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 teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Anaheim California employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get 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 school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Anaheim CA college you enroll in should also provide 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools 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 indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of Anaheim CA business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Anaheim CA colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Anaheim CA programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Anaheim home, visit the college and monitor 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Anaheim CA, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Best Interior Designer College near Anaheim California

interior designed kitchen in Anaheim CaliforniaChoosing the ideal interior design program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Anaheim California.