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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Bellflower CA

How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Degree Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Bellflower 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 essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of 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 crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Bellflower CA

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The principal difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, 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 work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Bellflower CA can specialize in:

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

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Bellflower California interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new career in Bellflower CA. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional 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 needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Bellflower California interior designer bathroomOnce you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Bellflower CA home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Bellflower California employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate 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, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Bellflower CA program you enroll in should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a large network of Bellflower CA business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Bellflower CA schools you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Bellflower CA schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Bellflower home, visit the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Bellflower CA, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Design School near Bellflower California

interior designed kitchen in Bellflower CaliforniaChoosing the right interior design school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many points to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bellflower California.