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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Arcadia CA

How to Find the Best Interior Design School

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Arcadia CA, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you begin? Some potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, 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 Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Arcadia CA

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The principal difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Arcadia CA can specialize in:

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

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Arcadia California interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new profession in Arcadia CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have 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 qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs 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 aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Online Interior Designer Degree Programs

Arcadia CA student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Arcadia CA homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have hectic 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 many students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Arcadia CA home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing 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 look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design program and school that you select has been accredited by 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Arcadia California employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prep 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 college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Arcadia CA college you choose should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Arcadia CA business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

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

How Small 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. Ask the Arcadia CA programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Arcadia home, go to the college and attend a few classes. While there speak with a few 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening 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 alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School near Arcadia California

interior designed kitchen in Arcadia CaliforniaChoosing the ideal interior design school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Arcadia California.