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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Arcadia CA

How to Pick the Right Interior Design Course

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Arcadia CA, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But where do you start? A number of potential students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Arcadia CA

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The principal difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Arcadia CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often 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 particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often 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 concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Arcadia California interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new career in Arcadia CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate 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 a 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 advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and adopt 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 an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Why Do You Want to Be an Interior Designer?

Arcadia 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.

What to Ask Interior Design Schools

Once you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Arcadia CA residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 excellent, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Arcadia California employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the Program 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 college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Arcadia CA school you select should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask 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 sought after. It may also signify that the school has a large network of Arcadia CA business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Arcadia CA schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Arcadia CA programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Arcadia home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Arcadia CA, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer Program near Arcadia California

interior designed kitchen in Arcadia CaliforniaSelecting the right interior designer school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of things to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Arcadia California.