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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Baldwin Park CA

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Baldwin Park CA, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? Many potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Baldwin Park CA

Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The primary distinction between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Baldwin Park CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate 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 hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Baldwin Park California interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new profession in Baldwin Park CA. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed 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 supply advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Online Interior Designer Degree Programs

Baldwin Park CA student attending interior design school onlineFor students who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Baldwin Park CA homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have hectic 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 a number of students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

After you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Baldwin Park CA home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Baldwin Park California employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become 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 several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Baldwin Park CA school you enroll in should also provide the appropriate instruction 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 School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a large network of Baldwin Park CA business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Baldwin Park CA colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Baldwin Park CA programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Baldwin Park home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with a few students and ask 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 Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your active 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 Baldwin Park CA, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Designer College near Baldwin Park California

interior designed kitchen in Baldwin Park CaliforniaChoosing the ideal interior designer program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Baldwin Park California.