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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Apple Valley CA

How to Choose the Best Interior Designer Degree Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Apple Valley CA, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? A number of future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Apple Valley CA

Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The key distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas 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 the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate 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 emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints 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 Degree Programs

There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new career in Apple Valley CA. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at a number of California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

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

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Apple Valley California interior designer bathroomAfter you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Apple Valley CA residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by 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 undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Apple Valley California employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Apple Valley CA program you select should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Apple Valley CA business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Apple Valley CA schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Apple Valley CA programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Apple Valley home, visit the college and sit in on a few classes. While there talk 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 Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Apple Valley CA, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Best Interior Designer Program near Apple Valley California

interior designed kitchen in Apple Valley CaliforniaPicking the ideal interior design school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many points to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges 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.