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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Azusa CA

How to Find the Right Interior Designer Degree Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Azusa CA, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But just where do you begin? A number of potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues 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 training options are offered.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Azusa CA

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The principal difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, 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 living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Azusa CA can specialize in:

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

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Azusa California interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new profession in Azusa CA. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered 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 level of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at many California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

What to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Azusa California interior designer bathroomNow that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Azusa CA residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design 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 gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Azusa California employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become 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 program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Azusa CA school you choose should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with 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 received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a significant network of Azusa CA business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Azusa CA schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Azusa CA programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Azusa home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Azusa CA, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Right Interior Designer School near Azusa California

interior designed kitchen in Azusa CaliforniaSelecting the right interior design college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training 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 receive an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review 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 reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Azusa California.