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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Arcadia CA

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Designer Degree Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program 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 interiors, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? A number of future students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration also. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's cover 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 Arcadia CA

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

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Arcadia California interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new career in Arcadia CA. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt 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) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

In order 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 professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Online Interior Design Schools

Arcadia CA student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Arcadia CA homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you select is accredited by a recognized 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 education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Arcadia CA home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Arcadia California employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Arcadia CA college you select should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet 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 obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a significant network of Arcadia CA business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Arcadia CA schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Arcadia CA schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Arcadia home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Arcadia CA, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer School near Arcadia California

interior designed kitchen in Arcadia CaliforniaPicking the right interior design school is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many things to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Arcadia California.