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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Baldwin Park CA

How to Choose the Right Interior Design Degree Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Baldwin Park CA, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you receive the right 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 examination as well. So it's crucial that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? Some prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking 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 options are offered.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Baldwin Park CA

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The principal distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Baldwin Park CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate 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 color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Baldwin Park California interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new career in Baldwin Park CA. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade 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 two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Why Train 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.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Baldwin Park CA residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary 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 highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing 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 colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Baldwin Park CA program you choose should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement 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 highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a large network of Baldwin Park CA business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Baldwin Park CA colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Baldwin Park CA schools you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Baldwin Park home, visit the college and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and find out 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? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Baldwin Park CA, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design College near Baldwin Park California

interior designed kitchen in Baldwin Park CaliforniaSelecting the right interior design college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Baldwin Park California.