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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Antioch CA

How to Pick the Right Interior Designer College

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer 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 spaces, it's important that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you start? Many prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Antioch CA

Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The primary difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated 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 new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal 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 may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

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

Interior Design Training Programs

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to start your new career in Antioch CA. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations 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 two years to complete and programs are available at many 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 provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate 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 acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who want 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.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Online Interior Design Schools

Antioch CA student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Antioch CA homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

After you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Antioch CA home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when applying for 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 College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several 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 college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Antioch CA college you enroll in should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy 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 received your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Antioch CA business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Antioch CA colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Antioch CA schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Antioch home, visit the school and sit in on 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 philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

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

Enroll in the Best Interior Design Program near Antioch California

interior designed kitchen in Antioch CaliforniaPicking the ideal interior designer school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider 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. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs 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.