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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Anaheim CA

How to Select the Best Interior Design Course

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Anaheim CA, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require 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 crucial that you do the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But exactly where do you begin? Many potential students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. We will cover those topics and other crucial 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 alternatives are offered.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Anaheim CA

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

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently 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 can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

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

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new profession in Anaheim CA. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business required 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 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such 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. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary 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, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Designer Online Classes

Anaheim CA student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Anaheim CA homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Anaheim CA home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college 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 excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Anaheim California employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate 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 calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Anaheim CA program you enroll in should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a large network of Anaheim CA business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Anaheim CA colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Anaheim CA programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Anaheim home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Anaheim CA, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check 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 Right Interior Designer School near Anaheim California

interior designed kitchen in Anaheim CaliforniaPicking the right interior design school is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several factors to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school 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 rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Anaheim California.