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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Baldwin Park CA

How to Pick the Right Interior Designer College

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Baldwin Park CA, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you start? A number of prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Baldwin Park CA

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The principal distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone 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 a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Baldwin Park CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Baldwin Park California interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new profession in Baldwin Park CA. Your choice will no doubt be influenced 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 decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ 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", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Why Become an Interior Designer?

Baldwin Park CA student attending interior design school onlineThere are many options available to you once you graduate and enter the field of interior design.  If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit you may become self-employed and open your own interior design shop. You might also work for a small or larger design firm. Designers have careers creating interiors for businesses, hospitals, government buildings, as well as private residences. Rarely is a design career a 9 to 5 job. You’ll need to be flexible, patient, and persistent to get your career off the ground. But you will have the opportunity to earn an attractive income as well as the personal satisfaction of creating beautiful living and working spaces.

What to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Baldwin Park CA residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Baldwin Park California employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require 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 school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Baldwin Park CA school you enroll in should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school 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 college has a large network of Baldwin Park CA business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

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

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Baldwin Park CA programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Baldwin Park home, go to the campus and attend a couple of 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 Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Baldwin Park CA, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design School near Baldwin Park California

interior designed kitchen in Baldwin Park CaliforniaPicking the right interior designer program is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many things to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Baldwin Park California.