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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Beverly Hills CA

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Designer College

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Beverly Hills CA, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are considering before you make your final decision. But where do you start? Many future students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. 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 options are offered.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Beverly Hills CA

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The principal difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many 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 many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Beverly Hills CA can specialize in:

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

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Beverly Hills California interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new profession in Beverly Hills CA. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at a number of California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade required 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 provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

What to Ask Interior Design Programs

Beverly Hills California interior designer bathroomOnce you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school must be within driving distance from your Beverly Hills CA home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. 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 college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Beverly Hills California employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prep 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 calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Beverly Hills CA program you select should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs 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 highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Beverly Hills CA business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Beverly Hills CA colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Beverly Hills CA schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Beverly Hills home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Beverly Hills CA, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer Program near Beverly Hills California

interior designed kitchen in Beverly Hills CaliforniaSelecting the right interior design college is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Locating 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 major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Beverly Hills California.