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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Bellflower CA

How to Select the Best Interior Designer Course

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Bellflower CA, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But where do you begin? Many future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk 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 Bellflower CA

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The principal difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad 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 area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Bellflower California interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new profession in Bellflower CA. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed 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. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Online Interior Design Degree Programs

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

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools

After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Bellflower CA home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Bellflower California employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Bellflower CA program you enroll in should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam 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 obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools 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 college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Bellflower CA business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Bellflower CA schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Bellflower CA colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Bellflower home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Bellflower CA, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend 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.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design College near Bellflower California

interior designed kitchen in Bellflower CaliforniaPicking the right interior designer college is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many points to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bellflower California.