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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Apple Valley CA

How to Pick the Best Interior Design School

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Apple Valley CA, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you start? Many future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Apple Valley CA

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The main distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Apple Valley CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. 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 bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Apple Valley California interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about 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 Apple Valley CA. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade needed 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 two year programs supply advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Online Interior Design Colleges

Apple Valley CA student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Apple Valley CA homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to 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 programs may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 online or distance education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Apple Valley CA residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional 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 rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Apple Valley California employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Apple Valley CA program you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Apple Valley CA business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Apple Valley CA colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of support they offer. Many of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program 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 provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Apple Valley CA schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Apple Valley home, visit the campus and attend 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Apple Valley CA, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Best Interior Design School near Apple Valley California

interior designed kitchen in Apple Valley CaliforniaPicking the right interior design program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Apple Valley California.