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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Arcadia CA

How to Select the Right Interior Designer Course

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Arcadia CA, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But just where do you start? Some future students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Arcadia CA

Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The main difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Arcadia CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. 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 concepts, Arcadia California interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training needed to start your new career in Arcadia CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote 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 required in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree 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 achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees 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 normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Online Interior Design Colleges

Arcadia CA student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Arcadia CA homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive 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 structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs

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 has to be within commuting distance from your Arcadia CA residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Arcadia California employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Arcadia CA program you choose should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a significant network of Arcadia CA business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Arcadia CA colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Arcadia CA colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Arcadia home, visit the college and attend a few classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Arcadia CA, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Best Interior Design School near Arcadia California

interior designed kitchen in Arcadia CaliforniaPicking the ideal interior design college is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Finding a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several points to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Arcadia California.