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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Antioch CA

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program 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 important that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate decision. But just where do you start? Some future students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial 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 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 difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business 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 taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Antioch CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area 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 often 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 focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

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

Interior Design Degree Options

There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training required to launch your new career in Antioch CA. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of 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 required in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business 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 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Antioch California interior designer bathroomOnce you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Antioch CA residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Antioch California employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require 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 several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Antioch CA program you choose should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of Antioch CA business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Antioch CA colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Antioch CA colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Antioch home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. While there speak 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design program you select provides 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 Antioch CA, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer School near Antioch California

interior designed kitchen in Antioch CaliforniaPicking the right interior designer program is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several points to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Antioch California.