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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Azusa CA

How to Pick the Best Interior Design College

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Azusa CA, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? Many prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking 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 offered.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Azusa CA

Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The main distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Azusa CA may 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 can specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Azusa California interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new career in Azusa CA. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at many California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Why Train to Become an Interior Designer?

Azusa 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.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges

After you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Azusa CA residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Azusa California employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Azusa CA school you enroll in should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned 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 high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a significant network of Azusa CA business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Azusa CA colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Azusa CA schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Azusa home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Azusa CA, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School near Azusa California

interior designed kitchen in Azusa CaliforniaSelecting the right interior designer college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Azusa California.