Home >> California >> Atascadero >> Interior Design Programs


Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Atascadero CA

How to Pick the Best Interior Design Degree Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Atascadero 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 important that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are considering before you make your final selection. But where do you start? A number of future students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.

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

Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Atascadero CA

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous 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 functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Atascadero CA can specialize in:

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

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

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new profession in Atascadero CA. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at a number of California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Why Train to Become an Interior Designer?

Atascadero 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.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools

Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Atascadero CA home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Atascadero California employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Atascadero CA program you choose should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing 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 probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Atascadero CA business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Atascadero CA schools you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Atascadero CA colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Atascadero home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Atascadero CA, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Choose the Best Interior Design College near Atascadero California

interior designed kitchen in Atascadero CaliforniaChoosing the ideal interior designer program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are several things to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Atascadero California.