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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Antelope CA

How to Select the Best Interior Designer College

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Antelope CA, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But just where do you start? Many future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching 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 choices are available.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Antelope CA

Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The principal distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Antelope CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, 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 main consideration.

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

Interior Design Training Programs

There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new profession in Antelope CA. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business required 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 two year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty 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. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

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

Why Train to Become an Interior Designer?

Antelope 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 Programs

Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Antelope CA residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer school and program that you select has been accredited by 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged 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 requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Antelope California employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become 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 some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Antelope CA school you select should also provide the proper 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 College'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 job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Antelope CA business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Antelope CA colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Antelope CA programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Antelope home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of 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 experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Antelope CA, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Design Program near Antelope California

interior designed kitchen in Antelope CaliforniaPicking the ideal interior design college is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of points to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Antelope California.