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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Bakersfield CA

How to Choose the Best Interior Designer College

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college 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 spaces, it's imperative that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? A number of future students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 options are available.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Bakersfield CA

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The primary distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Bakersfield CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. 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 may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They 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 concepts, Bakersfield California interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new career in Bakersfield CA. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum 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 design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Designer Online Classes

Bakersfield CA student attending interior design school onlineFor students who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Bakersfield CA homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges

When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Bakersfield CA residence. 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 qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design program and school that you choose has been accredited by 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). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Bakersfield California employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get 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 program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Bakersfield CA program you choose should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges 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 sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school 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 Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Bakersfield CA colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Bakersfield CA schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Bakersfield home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to 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, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Designer College near Bakersfield California

interior designed kitchen in Bakersfield CaliforniaSelecting the ideal interior design college is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bakersfield California.