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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Antioch CA

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Designer Degree Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Antioch CA, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you carry out the proper research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? A number of future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, 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 vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Antioch CA

Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The primary distinction between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Antioch CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

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

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new career in Antioch 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, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at numerous California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Online Interior Designer Colleges

Antioch CA student attending interior design school onlineFor students who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Antioch CA homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, 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 online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs

Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Antioch CA residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Antioch California employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Antioch CA program you choose should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, 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 profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Antioch CA business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Antioch CA schools you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Antioch CA schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Antioch home, go to the campus and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Antioch CA, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School near Antioch California

interior designed kitchen in Antioch CaliforniaSelecting the ideal interior designer college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many things to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Antioch California.