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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Arden Arcade CA

How to Select the Right Interior Design Degree Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Arden Arcade 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 essential that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But where do you start? Some future students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account as well. We will discuss those topics and other vital 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 training options are offered.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Arden Arcade CA

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The principal distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may collaborate 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 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 bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

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

Interior Design Degrees

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new career in Arden Arcade CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions 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 facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require 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 sit for the licensing exam.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools

Arden Arcade California interior designer bathroomNow that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Arden Arcade CA home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design program and school that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Arden Arcade California employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get 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 some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Arden Arcade CA school you choose should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill 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 design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a significant network of Arden Arcade CA business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Arden Arcade CA colleges you are looking at and find out what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Arden Arcade CA programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Arden Arcade home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to 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 attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Right Interior Design School near Arden Arcade California

interior designed kitchen in Arden Arcade CaliforniaChoosing the right interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Arden Arcade California.