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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Baldwin Park CA

How to Choose the Best Interior Design School

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Baldwin Park CA, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? A number of potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Baldwin Park CA

Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The primary difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Baldwin Park CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as 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 concepts, Baldwin Park California interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new profession in Baldwin Park CA. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter 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 several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at many California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally 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 field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Colleges

Baldwin Park CA student attending interior design school onlineFor anyone wishing to study in the convenience of their Baldwin Park CA homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools

Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Baldwin Park CA residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Baldwin Park California employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready 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 several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Baldwin Park CA school you choose should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a significant network of Baldwin Park CA business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Baldwin Park CA schools you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Baldwin Park CA schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Baldwin Park home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Baldwin Park CA, confirm 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, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer Program near Baldwin Park California

interior designed kitchen in Baldwin Park CaliforniaPicking the ideal interior design program is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of things to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Baldwin Park California.