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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Antelope CA

How to Select the Right Interior Design College

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Antelope CA, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of future students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you should be asking 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 training alternatives are offered.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Antelope CA

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The main difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business 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 work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Antelope CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate primarily 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 emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Antelope California interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new profession in Antelope CA. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at a number of California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs 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 technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and use 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 required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

What to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Antelope California interior designer bathroomWhen you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Antelope CA residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Antelope 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 become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Antelope CA program you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Antelope CA business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Antelope CA colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? 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 Antelope CA programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Antelope home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. While there speak 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Antelope CA, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design School near Antelope California

interior designed kitchen in Antelope CaliforniaChoosing the right interior design college is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are many factors to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Antelope California.