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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Bell Gardens CA

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design Degree Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design 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 spaces, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you start? A number of prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 choices are available.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Bell Gardens CA

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The principal difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Bell Gardens CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

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

Interior Design Training Programs

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new profession in Bell Gardens CA. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated 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 level of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at many California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum 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 provide advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish 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.

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 needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Interior Designer Online Colleges

Bell Gardens CA student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Bell Gardens CA homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Bell Gardens CA residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Bell Gardens California employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Bell Gardens CA program you select should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement 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 highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Bell Gardens CA business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Bell Gardens CA colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Bell Gardens CA programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Bell Gardens home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Bell Gardens CA, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Designer School near Bell Gardens California

interior designed kitchen in Bell Gardens CaliforniaChoosing the ideal interior design program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bell Gardens California.