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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Baldwin Park CA

How to Select the Best Interior Design School

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Baldwin Park CA, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But just where do you begin? A number of future students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Baldwin Park CA

Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The primary difference between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Baldwin Park CA can specialize in:

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

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Baldwin Park California interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new career in Baldwin Park CA. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be 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 several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of 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 sit for the licensing exam.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Baldwin Park California interior designer bathroomOnce you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Baldwin Park CA residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions 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 right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Baldwin Park California employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Baldwin Park CA school you choose should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy 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 earned your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Baldwin Park CA business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Baldwin Park CA colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Baldwin Park CA schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Baldwin Park home, go to the school and attend a few classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Baldwin Park CA, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Designer College near Baldwin Park California

interior designed kitchen in Baldwin Park CaliforniaSelecting the ideal interior design college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many things to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Baldwin Park California.