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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Arden Arcade CA

How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Arden Arcade CA, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? Many future students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in 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 options are available.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Arden Arcade CA

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

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They 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 integrating Feng shui principles, Arden Arcade California interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new profession in Arden Arcade CA. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure 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 alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally 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 degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Classes

Arden Arcade CA student attending interior design school onlineFor anyone wishing to attend classes in the convenience of their Arden Arcade CA homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. 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 schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools

When you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus must be within driving 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 qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer school 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). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Arden Arcade California employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Arden Arcade CA program you choose should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges 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 college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a significant network of Arden Arcade CA business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Arden Arcade CA schools you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Arden Arcade CA schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Arden Arcade home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with a few 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Arden Arcade CA, verify 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, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Designer School near Arden Arcade California

interior designed kitchen in Arden Arcade CaliforniaChoosing the right interior designer program is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many things to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Arden Arcade California.