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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Apple Valley CA

How to Choose the Right Interior Designer School

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Apple Valley CA, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you start? A number of future students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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 Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Apple Valley CA

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two 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 essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate 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 emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Apple Valley California interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new career in Apple Valley CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance 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 programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

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

Why Do You Want to Be an Interior Designer?

Apple Valley CA student attending interior design school onlineThere are many options available to you once you graduate and enter the field of interior design.  If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit you may become self-employed and open your own interior design shop. You might also work for a small or larger design firm. Designers have careers creating interiors for businesses, hospitals, government buildings, as well as private residences. Rarely is a design career a 9 to 5 job. You’ll need to be flexible, patient, and persistent to get your career off the ground. But you will have the opportunity to earn an attractive income as well as the personal satisfaction of creating beautiful living and working spaces.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Apple Valley CA home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and college that you choose has been accredited by 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized 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 obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Apple Valley California employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Apple Valley CA program you choose should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill 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 earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Apple Valley CA business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Apple Valley CA colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Apple Valley CA programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Apple Valley home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Apple Valley CA, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Designer Program near Apple Valley California

interior designed kitchen in Apple Valley CaliforniaSelecting the right interior design college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are several factors to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Apple Valley California.