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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Baldwin Park CA

How to Pick the Right Interior Design Course

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Baldwin Park CA, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? A number of prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives 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 main distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person 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 requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential 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 Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms 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 many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Baldwin Park California interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to start your new career in Baldwin Park CA. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty 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 primarily 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 as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Why Study to 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.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Baldwin Park CA residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Baldwin Park California employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require 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 calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Baldwin Park CA program you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Baldwin Park CA business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Baldwin Park CA colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Baldwin Park CA colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Baldwin Park home, visit the college and monitor a couple of 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important 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 certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer School near Baldwin Park California

interior designed kitchen in Baldwin Park CaliforniaSelecting the right interior designer program is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several factors to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance 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 ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Baldwin Park California.