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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Bellflower CA

How to Select the Best Interior Design Course

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Bellflower CA, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? Some future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important issues 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 crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Bellflower CA

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Bellflower CA may specialize in:

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

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Bellflower California interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new career in Bellflower CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student 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 achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

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

Why Become an Interior Designer?

Bellflower 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 Colleges

After you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Bellflower CA home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure 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 school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Bellflower California employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs 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 college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Bellflower CA school you choose 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? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a large network of Bellflower CA business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Bellflower CA schools you are looking at and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large 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. Find out from the Bellflower CA schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Bellflower home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Bellflower CA, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Right Interior Designer Program near Bellflower California

interior designed kitchen in Bellflower CaliforniaSelecting the right interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bellflower California.