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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Azusa CA

How to Pick the Best Interior Design Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Azusa CA, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are considering before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you start? A number of prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. 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 before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Azusa CA

Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The key distinction between them 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 requires a formal education and in many 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 spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Azusa CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Azusa California interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new career in Azusa CA. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at a number of California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Why 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.

What to Ask Interior Designer Schools

After you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Azusa CA home. Naturally 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 options as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Azusa California employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Azusa CA college you enroll in should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably want some help 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 an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a significant network of Azusa CA business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Azusa CA schools you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Azusa CA colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Azusa home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Azusa CA, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design College near Azusa California

interior designed kitchen in Azusa CaliforniaChoosing the ideal interior designer school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several factors to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess 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.