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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Arden Arcade CA

How to Find the Right Interior Designer School

Now that you have made a decision 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 commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But where do you start? Some potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, 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 Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Arden Arcade CA

Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The key difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and 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 2 general categories that an interior designer in Arden Arcade CA may specialize in:

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

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Arden Arcade California interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new profession in Arden Arcade CA. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required 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. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at many California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components 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 job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options 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 mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Designer Online Colleges

Arden Arcade CA student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to study in the convenience of their Arden Arcade CA homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs 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 environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

After you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Arden Arcade CA home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial aid 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 College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require 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 program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Arden Arcade CA college you choose should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. 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 high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Arden Arcade CA business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Arden Arcade CA schools you are looking at and find out what kind of support they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Arden Arcade CA programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Arden Arcade home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and find out 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, make sure that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Arden Arcade CA, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design Program near Arden Arcade California

interior designed kitchen in Arden Arcade CaliforniaPicking the ideal interior design program is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many things to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Arden Arcade California.