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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Beverly Hills CA

How to Pick the Best Interior Designer Degree Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Beverly Hills CA, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But where do you begin? Many future students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Beverly Hills CA

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The primary difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Beverly Hills CA may specialize in:

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

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Beverly Hills California interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new profession in Beverly Hills CA. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

What to Ask Interior Design Schools

Beverly Hills California interior designer bathroomOnce you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Beverly Hills CA residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. 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 an extensive evaluation 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Beverly Hills California employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become 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 mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Beverly Hills CA college you enroll in should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help 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 college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a sizable network of Beverly Hills CA business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Beverly Hills CA schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Beverly Hills CA programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Beverly Hills home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Beverly Hills CA, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer College near Beverly Hills California

interior designed kitchen in Beverly Hills CaliforniaSelecting the right interior design program is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Beverly Hills California.