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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Arden Arcade CA

How to Select the Right Interior Designer School

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Arden Arcade CA, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you start? A number of potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will cover those issues 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 class choices are offered.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Arden Arcade CA

Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The main distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing 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 taught to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Arden Arcade CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of 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 appearance as the primary concern.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Arden Arcade California interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new career in Arden Arcade CA. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed 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 short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Designer Online Colleges

Arden Arcade CA student attending interior design school onlineFor students who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Arden Arcade CA homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical 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 lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Arden Arcade CA home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Arden Arcade California employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of 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 program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Arden Arcade CA school you enroll in should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill 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 received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a large network of Arden Arcade CA business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Arden Arcade CA colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Arden Arcade CA colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Arden Arcade home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer college you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Arden Arcade CA, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Best Interior Design School near Arden Arcade California

interior designed kitchen in Arden Arcade CaliforniaPicking the right interior design college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of things to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Arden Arcade California.