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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Bell Gardens CA

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design School

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Bell Gardens CA, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require 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 proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? Some prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Bell Gardens CA

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The primary difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Bell Gardens CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus 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, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Bell Gardens California interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new career in Bell Gardens CA. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets 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 job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer 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. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Bell Gardens California interior designer bathroomOnce you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Bell Gardens CA residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing 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 schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Bell Gardens CA program you choose should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a substantial network of Bell Gardens CA business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Bell Gardens CA schools you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Bell Gardens CA colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Bell Gardens home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Bell Gardens CA, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Best Interior Designer School near Bell Gardens California

interior designed kitchen in Bell Gardens CaliforniaChoosing the ideal interior designer program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bell Gardens California.