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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Arcadia CA

How to Choose the Best Interior Design College

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Arcadia CA, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But just where do you start? A number of future students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered also. We will address those topics 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 choices are offered.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Arcadia CA

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The primary difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects 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 existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Arcadia California interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new career in Arcadia CA. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs 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 technical and creative components of the business required 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 provide advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty 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. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Arcadia California interior designer bathroomNow that you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Arcadia CA residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Arcadia California employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become 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 school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Arcadia CA school you enroll in should also furnish the suitable 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 College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a large network of Arcadia CA business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Arcadia CA schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Arcadia CA colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Arcadia home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Arcadia CA, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer Program near Arcadia California

interior designed kitchen in Arcadia CaliforniaPicking the right interior design school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Arcadia California.