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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Arden Arcade CA

How to Pick the Best Interior Designer Degree Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Arden Arcade CA, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of future students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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 Arden Arcade CA

Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The primary distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Arden Arcade CA may specialize in:

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

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Arden Arcade California interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new career in Arden Arcade CA. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of 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 level of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at many California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Why Study to Become an Interior Designer?

Arden Arcade 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 Colleges

Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Arden Arcade CA residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Arden Arcade California employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become 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 college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Arden Arcade CA program you select should also furnish 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? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly 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 a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Arden Arcade CA business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Arden Arcade CA schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Arden Arcade CA colleges you are considering what their average 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 talk 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Arden Arcade CA, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School near Arden Arcade California

interior designed kitchen in Arden Arcade CaliforniaPicking the right interior design college is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Arden Arcade California.