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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Bellflower CA

How to Find the Right Interior Design Degree Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Bellflower CA, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But just where do you begin? Many potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other important questions that you must ask 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 choices are offered.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Bellflower CA

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The principal difference between them 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 spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Bellflower CA may specialize in:

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

There are various areas of residential and commercial 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 create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Bellflower California interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new career in Bellflower CA. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student 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 the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Bellflower California interior designer bathroomWhen you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Bellflower CA residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.

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

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So besides providing an excellent education, the Bellflower CA school you select should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Bellflower CA business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Bellflower CA colleges you are looking at and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Bellflower CA colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Bellflower home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Bellflower CA, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Choose the Best Interior Designer Program near Bellflower California

interior designed kitchen in Bellflower CaliforniaChoosing the ideal interior design school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bellflower California.