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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Antioch CA

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design College

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Antioch CA, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you receive the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But exactly where do you start? Many prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 offered.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Antioch CA

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The main distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Antioch CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms 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 many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Antioch California interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new profession in Antioch CA. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide 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) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at a number of California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical 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 job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools

Antioch California interior designer bathroomOnce you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Antioch CA home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. 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 rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Antioch California employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of 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 program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Antioch CA school you choose should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements 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 no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Antioch CA business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Antioch CA schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer 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 choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Antioch CA programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Antioch home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Antioch CA, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design Program near Antioch California

interior designed kitchen in Antioch CaliforniaSelecting the ideal interior design program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Antioch California.