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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Bakersfield CA

How to Pick the Right Interior Design College

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Bakersfield CA, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But just where do you begin? Many future students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other important 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 class options are available.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Bakersfield CA

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The key distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many 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 functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Bakersfield CA may specialize in:

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

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Bakersfield California interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new career in Bakersfield CA. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business 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 two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Bakersfield California interior designer bathroomWhen you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Bakersfield CA residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house 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 college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Bakersfield California employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Bakersfield CA college you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Bakersfield CA business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Bakersfield CA colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they offer. Many of interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Bakersfield CA colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Bakersfield home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Bakersfield CA, confirm 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 process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design School near Bakersfield California

interior designed kitchen in Bakersfield CaliforniaPicking the right interior design school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bakersfield California.