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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Apple Valley CA

How to Pick the Best Interior Design Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Apple Valley CA, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you do the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are considering before you make your final choice. But just where do you begin? Some future students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other crucial 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 options are offered.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Apple Valley CA

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work 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 requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Apple Valley CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently 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 particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Apple Valley California interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to begin your new career in Apple Valley CA. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take about 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 cover the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Apple Valley California interior designer bathroomWhen you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Apple Valley CA home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Apple Valley California employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

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) examination 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 besides furnishing an excellent education, the Apple Valley CA school you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help 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 an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a significant network of Apple Valley CA business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Apple Valley CA colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Apple Valley CA schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Apple Valley home, visit the college and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Apple Valley CA, make sure 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.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program near Apple Valley California

interior designed kitchen in Apple Valley CaliforniaPicking the ideal interior design college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Apple Valley California.