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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Bell Gardens CA

How to Find the Best Interior Design Degree Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Bell Gardens CA, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But just where do you begin? Many prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Bell Gardens CA

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The key distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories 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 can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Bell Gardens California interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new profession in Bell Gardens CA. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Why Become 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.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs

When you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Bell Gardens CA residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Bell Gardens California employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Bell Gardens CA college you enroll in should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a significant network of Bell Gardens CA business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Bell Gardens CA colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Bell Gardens CA schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Bell Gardens home, go to the college and attend a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Bell Gardens CA, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Design College near Bell Gardens California

interior designed kitchen in Bell Gardens CaliforniaSelecting the ideal interior design school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of things to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bell Gardens California.