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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Beverly Hills CA

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Course

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Beverly Hills CA, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative 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 could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. But exactly where do you start? Many prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Beverly Hills CA

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The key distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Beverly Hills CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Beverly Hills California interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new career in Beverly Hills CA. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at many California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for 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 components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

What to Ask Interior Design Programs

Beverly Hills California interior designer bathroomNow that you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Beverly Hills CA residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you select has been accredited by 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college 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 education are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Beverly Hills California employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require 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 calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Beverly Hills CA program you select should also provide the proper education 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 attained your interior design certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a substantial network of Beverly Hills CA business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Beverly Hills CA colleges you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Beverly Hills CA colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Beverly Hills home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Beverly Hills CA, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Design School near Beverly Hills California

interior designed kitchen in Beverly Hills CaliforniaSelecting the ideal interior designer college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are a number of things to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Beverly Hills California.