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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Bell Gardens CA

How to Find the Best Interior Design Degree Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college 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 commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you start? A number of prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 alternatives are available.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Bell Gardens CA

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The primary distinction between them is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business 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 work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas 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 essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality 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 main concern.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Bell Gardens California interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training required to launch your new career in Bell Gardens CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt 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) 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 available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely 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 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges 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 Study to 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 Schools

Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Bell Gardens CA home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design school and program 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. 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 securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Bell Gardens California employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

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

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, 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 graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a large network of Bell Gardens CA business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Bell Gardens CA colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial aid to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually 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 personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Bell Gardens CA programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Bell Gardens home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and find out 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? Last, make certain that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will 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 enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Design Program near Bell Gardens California

interior designed kitchen in Bell Gardens CaliforniaPicking the ideal interior design program is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several points to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bell Gardens California.