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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Bellflower CA

How to Find the Best Interior Design School

Now that 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 imperative that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you start? A number of prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account also. We will address those topics and other vital 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 alternatives are offered.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Bellflower CA

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The main distinction between them 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 areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Bellflower CA can specialize in:

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

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Bellflower California interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new career in Bellflower CA. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Schools

Bellflower CA student attending interior design school onlineFor students who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Bellflower CA homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Bellflower CA home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their instructors 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 college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Bellflower California employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Bellflower CA program you enroll in should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with 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 designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement 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 held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of Bellflower CA business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Bellflower CA schools you are looking at and find out what type of aid they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Bellflower CA programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Bellflower home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer program 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 at night or on weekends near Bellflower CA, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design College near Bellflower California

interior designed kitchen in Bellflower CaliforniaPicking the right interior design college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bellflower California.