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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Bell Gardens CA

How to Choose the Best Interior Design College

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Bell Gardens 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 imperative that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But just where do you begin? A number of potential students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask 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 vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Bell Gardens CA

Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The main distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business 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 educated to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Bell Gardens CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently 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 specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might 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 choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Bell Gardens California interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new profession in Bell Gardens CA. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment 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 needed to become a designer. They are the minimum 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 provide advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Online Interior Designer Degree Programs

Bell Gardens CA student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Bell Gardens CA homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Bell Gardens CA residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Bell Gardens California employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require 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 mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Bell Gardens CA school you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with 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 support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Bell Gardens CA business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Bell Gardens CA schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Bell Gardens CA programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Bell Gardens home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer college you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Bell Gardens CA, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Designer Program near Bell Gardens California

interior designed kitchen in Bell Gardens CaliforniaSelecting the right interior designer program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bell Gardens California.