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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Bakersfield CA

How to Choose the Right Interior Design Course

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Bakersfield CA, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But where do you start? Some potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Bakersfield CA

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The primary difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Bakersfield CA can specialize in:

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

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

Interior Design Degree Options

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training required to start your new profession in Bakersfield CA. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make 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 short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Bakersfield California interior designer bathroomWhen you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Bakersfield CA home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design program and college that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Bakersfield California employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Bakersfield CA program you enroll in should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a large network of Bakersfield CA business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Bakersfield CA colleges you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Bakersfield CA schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Bakersfield home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Bakersfield CA, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer College near Bakersfield California

interior designed kitchen in Bakersfield CaliforniaSelecting the ideal interior design school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded 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 presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bakersfield California.