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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Apple Valley CA

How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Apple Valley CA, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? Some potential students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Apple Valley CA

Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The principal difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting 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 taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Apple Valley CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus 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 stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Apple Valley California interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

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

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at many California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain 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 specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

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

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Apple Valley California interior designer bathroomWhen you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Apple Valley CA home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your options also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the ideal 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 respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Apple Valley California employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Apple Valley CA school you choose should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher 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 in demand. It could also signify that the college has a significant network of Apple Valley CA business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Apple Valley CA colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Apple Valley CA programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Apple Valley home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Apple Valley CA, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design School near Apple Valley California

interior designed kitchen in Apple Valley CaliforniaChoosing the right interior designer school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. 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 colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Apple Valley California.