Home >> California >> Atascadero >> Interior Design Colleges


Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Atascadero CA

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Degree Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Atascadero CA, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But where do you begin? A number of prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account as well. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.

Start Your Interior Design Career By Requesting Free Info on Local Schools Below

Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Atascadero CA

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The key difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education 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 work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Atascadero CA can specialize in:

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

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers 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 integrating Feng shui concepts, Atascadero California interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new profession in Atascadero CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and adopt 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 required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Atascadero California interior designer bathroomWhen you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Atascadero CA residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional 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 evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just make sure 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Atascadero California employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate 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 mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Atascadero CA college you select should also provide the proper education 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 attained your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges 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 an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a substantial network of Atascadero CA business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Atascadero CA colleges you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Atascadero CA programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Atascadero home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Atascadero CA, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design Program near Atascadero California

interior designed kitchen in Atascadero CaliforniaChoosing the right interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Atascadero California.