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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Bell Gardens CA

How to Choose the Best Interior Designer College

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Bell Gardens CA, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you start? Some future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking 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 class choices are available.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Bell Gardens CA

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The key difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Bell Gardens CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

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 create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Bell Gardens California interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training required to start your new career in Bell Gardens CA. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available 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 deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets 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 job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized 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 programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

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.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools

Once you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Bell Gardens CA residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. 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 a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Bell Gardens California employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the School 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 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 proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Bell Gardens CA business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Bell Gardens CA colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized 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 reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Bell Gardens home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Bell Gardens CA, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer Program near Bell Gardens California

interior designed kitchen in Bell Gardens CaliforniaPicking the ideal interior design college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bell Gardens California.