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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Azusa CA

How to Choose the Right Interior Design Course

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Azusa CA, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But just where do you begin? A number of future students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Azusa CA

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The principal difference 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. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Azusa CA can specialize in:

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

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Azusa California interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training required to start your new career in Azusa CA. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at many California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest 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 training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Azusa California interior designer bathroomOnce you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Azusa CA residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Azusa California employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become 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, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Azusa CA college you enroll in should also furnish the proper training 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 designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may 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 Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Azusa CA schools you are looking at and find out what type of support they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Azusa CA colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Azusa home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Azusa CA, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design Program near Azusa California

interior designed kitchen in Azusa CaliforniaChoosing the right interior designer college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Azusa California.