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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Baldwin Park CA

How to Find the Right Interior Design Course

Now that 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 receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you start? Some prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics 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 class alternatives are offered.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Baldwin Park CA

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Baldwin Park CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically 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 particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate primarily 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 stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

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

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new profession in Baldwin Park CA. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 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 positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools

Baldwin Park California interior designer bathroomOnce you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Baldwin Park CA residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at 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 Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Baldwin Park California employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prep 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Baldwin Park CA program you enroll in should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam 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? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a significant network of Baldwin Park CA business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Baldwin Park CA schools you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Baldwin Park CA schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Baldwin Park home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Baldwin Park CA, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Best Interior Designer School near Baldwin Park California

interior designed kitchen in Baldwin Park CaliforniaChoosing the ideal interior designer school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of things to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Baldwin Park California.