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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Bell Gardens CA

How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Bell Gardens CA, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? Some potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Bell Gardens CA

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The main difference between them is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Bell Gardens CA may specialize in:

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

Interior Design Degree Options

There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new career in Bell Gardens CA. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have 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 required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum 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 supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

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

Interior Designer Online Colleges

Bell Gardens CA student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Bell Gardens CA homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Colleges

After you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Bell Gardens CA home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Bell Gardens California employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get 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 college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Bell Gardens CA school you enroll in should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill 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 attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a sizable 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 aid offices for the Bell Gardens CA colleges you are looking at and find out what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Bell Gardens CA schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Bell Gardens home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic 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 sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Design Program near Bell Gardens California

interior designed kitchen in Bell Gardens CaliforniaSelecting the right interior designer program is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many things to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bell Gardens California.