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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Antelope CA

How to Pick the Best Interior Designer Degree Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Antelope 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 spaces, it's essential that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But where do you start? Some potential students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Antelope CA

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The principal distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires 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 areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Antelope CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary 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 need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Antelope California interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new profession in Antelope CA. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain 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 cover the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such 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. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Antelope California interior designer bathroomWhen you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Antelope CA home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, 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 programs for entry level positions.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Antelope CA college you enroll in should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a substantial network of Antelope CA business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Antelope CA colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively 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 one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Antelope CA schools you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Antelope home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Antelope CA, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program near Antelope California

interior designed kitchen in Antelope CaliforniaPicking the right interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several factors to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Antelope California.