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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Bell Gardens CA

How to Choose the Right Interior Design Degree Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Bell Gardens CA, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But where do you start? Many potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Bell Gardens CA

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The principal distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting 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 trained to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Bell Gardens CA can specialize in:

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

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Bell Gardens California interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new profession in Bell Gardens CA. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter 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 required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at a number of 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 furnish more extensive 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 college graduate in order to secure an entry level position 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 in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Why Do You Want to Be an Interior Designer?

Bell Gardens 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.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs

Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Bell Gardens CA home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the most affordable college 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, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure 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 respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. 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 applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Bell Gardens California employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Bell Gardens CA college you enroll in should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at 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 college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a large network of Bell Gardens CA business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Bell Gardens CA schools you are looking at and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Bell Gardens CA schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Bell Gardens home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask 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 Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Bell Gardens CA, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer Program near Bell Gardens California

interior designed kitchen in Bell Gardens CaliforniaChoosing the right interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many factors to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bell Gardens California.