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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Bakersfield CA

How to Select the Right Interior Design Degree Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Bakersfield CA, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But exactly where do you begin? Many potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Bakersfield CA

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The main distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training 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 areas attractive as well as functional. On many 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 Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For 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 primary concern.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Bakersfield California interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new career in Bakersfield CA. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of 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 required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at numerous California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Interior Designer Online Classes

Bakersfield CA student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Bakersfield CA homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you select 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 obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Now that 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 an important issue, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Bakersfield CA residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Bakersfield California employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Bakersfield CA program you enroll in should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Bakersfield CA business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Bakersfield CA colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Bakersfield CA programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Bakersfield home, visit the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending 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, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Designer School near Bakersfield California

interior designed kitchen in Bakersfield CaliforniaSelecting the right interior design program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several things to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bakersfield California.