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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Apple Valley CA

How to Choose the Best Interior Design College

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Apple Valley CA, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you do the proper research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But just where do you begin? Many potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues 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 talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Apple Valley CA

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The principal distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some 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 essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

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

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new career in Apple Valley CA. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college 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", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Online Interior Design Colleges

Apple Valley CA student attending interior design school onlineFor students who wish to study in the comfort of their Apple Valley CA homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting 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 might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Apple Valley California employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get 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 school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Apple Valley CA school you select should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination 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? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Apple Valley CA business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Apple Valley CA colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Apple Valley CA schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Apple Valley home, go to the school and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. 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 you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School near Apple Valley California

interior designed kitchen in Apple Valley CaliforniaChoosing the ideal interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many factors to consider 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 field. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Apple Valley California.