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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Baldwin Park CA

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Designer School

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Baldwin Park CA, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you receive the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? Some future students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant variables 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 topics 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 cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Baldwin Park CA

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone 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, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Baldwin Park CA can specialize in:

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

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Baldwin Park California interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new career in Baldwin Park CA. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Baldwin Park California interior designer bathroomWhen you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Baldwin Park CA home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design college and program 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Baldwin Park California employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several 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 college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Baldwin Park CA program you enroll in should also provide the proper 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 School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering 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 school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of Baldwin Park CA business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Baldwin Park CA colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Baldwin Park CA colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Baldwin Park home, visit the school and attend a few classes. While there talk 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 Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Baldwin Park CA, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer College near Baldwin Park California

interior designed kitchen in Baldwin Park CaliforniaChoosing the ideal interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are many factors to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges 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.