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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Azusa CA

How to Select the Right Interior Designer Course

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Azusa CA, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But just where do you start? Some potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will cover those issues and other crucial 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 class alternatives are available.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Azusa CA

Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. 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 can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Azusa California interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new profession in Azusa CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at a number of California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Online Interior Designer Schools

Azusa CA student attending interior design school onlineFor anyone wishing to study in the comfort of their Azusa CA homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be a good 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 home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

After you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Azusa CA home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. 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 school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when securing 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 positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get 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 program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Azusa CA program you choose should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with 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 attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Azusa CA business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Azusa CA schools you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Azusa CA programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Azusa home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak 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 Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly 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 sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Right Interior Design School near Azusa California

interior designed kitchen in Azusa CaliforniaSelecting the ideal interior designer school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several points to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Azusa California.