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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Apple Valley CA

How to Pick the Right Interior Design Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program 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 commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But just where do you start? Some prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Apple Valley CA

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The primary distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas 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 basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces 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 several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Apple Valley California interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new career in Apple Valley CA. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training needed 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 typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty 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. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Designer Online Schools

Apple Valley CA student attending interior design school onlineFor anyone wishing to attend classes in the comfort of their Apple Valley CA homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Apple Valley CA residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. 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 assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Apple Valley California employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require 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 requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Apple Valley CA school you select should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Apple Valley CA business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Apple Valley CA schools you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Apple Valley CA programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Apple Valley home, visit the campus and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer college you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening 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 option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Designer School near Apple Valley California

interior designed kitchen in Apple Valley CaliforniaChoosing the ideal interior designer program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several things to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Apple Valley California.