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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Antioch CA

How to Find the Right Interior Design College

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Antioch CA, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Antioch CA

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The primary difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Antioch CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas 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 several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Antioch California interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Designer 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 selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam 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. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at a number of California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices 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 their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Online Interior Designer Classes

Antioch CA student attending interior design school onlineFor anyone wishing to study in the convenience of their Antioch CA homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs

When you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Antioch CA residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns 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 select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 establish 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, 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 mandate that interior designers get 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 some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Antioch CA program you choose should also furnish the appropriate 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? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Antioch CA business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Antioch CA colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of support they provide. A number of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Antioch CA schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Antioch home, visit the college and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with a few 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Antioch CA, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Right Interior Design School near Antioch California

interior designed kitchen in Antioch CaliforniaPicking the right interior designer program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Antioch California.