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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Arden Arcade CA

How to Select the Best Interior Design Degree Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Arden Arcade CA, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But where do you begin? A number of prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Arden Arcade CA

Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The primary difference between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Arden Arcade CA can specialize in:

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

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Arden Arcade California interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new career in Arden Arcade CA. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at many California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Arden Arcade California interior designer bathroomNow that you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Arden Arcade CA residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design school and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, 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 Arden Arcade California employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Arden Arcade CA program you select should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance 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 esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Arden Arcade CA business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Arden Arcade CA colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Arden Arcade CA programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Arden Arcade home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Arden Arcade CA, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design School near Arden Arcade California

interior designed kitchen in Arden Arcade CaliforniaPicking the right interior designer college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many factors to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Arden Arcade California.