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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Azusa CA

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Azusa CA, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? A number of prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Azusa CA

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The principal distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates 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 residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Azusa CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. 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 Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. 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 including Feng shui concepts, Azusa California interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training needed to begin your new career in Azusa CA. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain 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 deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who desire 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.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Online Interior Design Colleges

Azusa CA student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to study in the convenience of their Azusa CA homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be 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 programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools

When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Azusa CA residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer school and program 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Azusa California employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some 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 school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Azusa CA school you select should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Azusa CA business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Azusa CA colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Azusa CA schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Azusa home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Azusa CA, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School near Azusa California

interior designed kitchen in Azusa CaliforniaChoosing the ideal interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several things to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Azusa California.