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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Antioch CA

How to Choose the Best Interior Designer Degree Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design 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 residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final choice. But where do you start? A number of potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, 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

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The principal distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together 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 new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Antioch California interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new career in Antioch CA. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at many California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives 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. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

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

Interior Design Online Schools

Antioch CA student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to study in the convenience of their Antioch CA homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you pick is accredited by a highly regarded 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 learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools

After you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Antioch CA residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to verify 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 highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Antioch California employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require 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 school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Antioch CA college you enroll in should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Antioch CA business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Antioch CA colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of support they provide. A number of interior design programs offer financial aid to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Antioch CA programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Antioch home, go to the school and monitor a couple of classes. While there 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? Last, make certain that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Antioch CA, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Choose the Best Interior Designer Program near Antioch California

interior designed kitchen in Antioch CaliforniaSelecting the ideal interior design school is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many factors to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions 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 superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Antioch California.