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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Antioch CA

How to Find the Right Interior Designer School

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Antioch CA, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? A number of prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching 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 and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Antioch CA

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Antioch CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to 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 concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Antioch California interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new career in Antioch CA. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed 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 short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish 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 four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

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

Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Antioch California interior designer bathroomOnce you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Antioch CA residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer program and college that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial aid 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 positions.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get 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 college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Antioch CA school you select should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with 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 want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Antioch CA business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Antioch CA schools you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually 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 may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Antioch CA colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Antioch home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Antioch CA, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Design College near Antioch California

interior designed kitchen in Antioch CaliforniaChoosing the ideal interior design college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Finding a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many points 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 business. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Antioch California.