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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Antioch CA

How to Pick the Best Interior Designer Course

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Antioch CA, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you receive the right 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 training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But where do you start? Some future students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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 vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Antioch CA

Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The principal distinction between them is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Antioch CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to 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 focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

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

Interior Design Degree Options

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new profession in Antioch CA. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at many California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Why Become an Interior Designer?

Antioch CA student attending interior design school onlineThere are many options available to you once you graduate and enter the field of interior design.  If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit you may become self-employed and open your own interior design shop. You might also work for a small or larger design firm. Designers have careers creating interiors for businesses, hospitals, government buildings, as well as private residences. Rarely is a design career a 9 to 5 job. You’ll need to be flexible, patient, and persistent to get your career off the ground. But you will have the opportunity to earn an attractive income as well as the personal satisfaction of creating beautiful living and working spaces.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

When you have decided on 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 issue, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Antioch CA residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and college 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just make sure 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Antioch California employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become 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 program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Antioch CA college you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Antioch CA business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Antioch CA colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will 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 practical from your Antioch home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Antioch CA, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design School near Antioch California

interior designed kitchen in Antioch CaliforniaPicking the right interior designer school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Antioch California.