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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Bakersfield CA

How to Find the Best Interior Designer Degree Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Bakersfield 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 spaces, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But where do you start? Many potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Bakersfield CA

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Bakersfield CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an 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 looks as the main consideration.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as 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 wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Bakersfield California interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training required to launch your new profession in Bakersfield CA. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential 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 design training after attaining a 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 advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Bakersfield California interior designer bathroomOnce you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Bakersfield CA home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Bakersfield California employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Bakersfield CA program you select should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing 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 profession and its graduates 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 obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Bakersfield CA colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Bakersfield CA schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Bakersfield home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Bakersfield CA, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Right Interior Designer Program near Bakersfield California

interior designed kitchen in Bakersfield CaliforniaPicking the ideal interior designer college is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several points to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bakersfield California.