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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Antelope CA

How to Pick the Right Interior Design College

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Antelope CA, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you begin? Many future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other important 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 training alternatives are available.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Antelope CA

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The key distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education 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 residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Antelope CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily 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 hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

There are numerous 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 create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Antelope California interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new profession in Antelope CA. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated 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 descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt 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 field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Online Interior Design Colleges

Antelope CA student attending interior design school onlineFor anyone wishing to attend classes in the comfort of their Antelope CA homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Programs

When you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Antelope CA residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. 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 undergone a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Antelope California employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate 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 requiring licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Antelope CA school you choose should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a large network of Antelope CA business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Antelope CA colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Antelope CA schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Antelope home, visit the school and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Antelope CA, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Best Interior Designer College near Antelope California

interior designed kitchen in Antelope CaliforniaSelecting the ideal interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Antelope California.