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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Bakersfield CA

How to Find the Best Interior Design College

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Bakersfield 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 interiors, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But where do you start? Many prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in 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 choices are offered.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Bakersfield CA

Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The principal distinction between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. 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 educated to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Bakersfield CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

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

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new profession in Bakersfield CA. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as 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 sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required 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. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at numerous 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 furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Why Train to Become an Interior Designer?

Bakersfield 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 Design Programs

Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Bakersfield CA residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the cheapest 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 look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Bakersfield California employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Bakersfield CA college you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained 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 high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Bakersfield CA business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Bakersfield CA colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Bakersfield CA colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Bakersfield home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Bakersfield CA, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Designer College near Bakersfield California

interior designed kitchen in Bakersfield CaliforniaSelecting the ideal interior designer school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bakersfield California.