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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Bakersfield CA

How to Select the Right Interior Design School

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Bakersfield CA, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But where do you begin? A number of potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Bakersfield CA

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The principal difference between the two is the level of training 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, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two 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 essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

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

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new profession in Bakersfield CA. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make 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 some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business 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 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

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

Interior Designer Online Degree Programs

Bakersfield CA student attending interior design school onlineFor students who wish to study in the convenience of their Bakersfield CA homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Bakersfield CA residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 confirm 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 Bakersfield California employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become 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 some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Bakersfield CA program you choose should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Bakersfield CA business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Bakersfield CA schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior design programs offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Bakersfield CA programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Bakersfield home, go to the college and monitor 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 backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design program you enroll in 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, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Best Interior Design Program near Bakersfield California

interior designed kitchen in Bakersfield CaliforniaSelecting the ideal interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are several things to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But 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 colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bakersfield California.