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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Bell Gardens CA

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Designer Degree Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Bell Gardens CA, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But just where do you begin? A number of future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in 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 available.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Bell Gardens CA

Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Bell Gardens CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically 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 can specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Bell Gardens California interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new career in Bell Gardens CA. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade required 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 training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools

Bell Gardens California interior designer bathroomNow that you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Bell Gardens CA residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. 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 exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Bell Gardens California employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Bell Gardens CA college you choose should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet 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 received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance 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 a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a significant network of Bell Gardens CA business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Bell Gardens CA colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small 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 Bell Gardens CA schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Bell Gardens home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Bell Gardens CA, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program near Bell Gardens California

interior designed kitchen in Bell Gardens CaliforniaSelecting the right interior designer college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many factors to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bell Gardens California.