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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Beverly Hills CA

How to Find the Best Interior Design College

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 gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection. But just where do you begin? Many prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Beverly Hills CA

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The key distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects 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 Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example 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 wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Beverly Hills California interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new career in Beverly Hills CA. Your choice will no doubt be motivated 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 certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Why Become an Interior Designer?

Beverly Hills CA student attending interior design school onlineThere are many options available to you once you graduate and enter the field of interior design.  If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit you may become self-employed and open your own interior design shop. You might also work for a small or larger design firm. Designers have careers creating interiors for businesses, hospitals, government buildings, as well as private residences. Rarely is a design career a 9 to 5 job. You’ll need to be flexible, patient, and persistent to get your career off the ground. But you will have the opportunity to earn an attractive income as well as the personal satisfaction of creating beautiful living and working spaces.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Beverly Hills CA home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 training are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Beverly Hills California employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get 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, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Beverly Hills CA program you select should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably 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 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 might also signify that the college has a large network of Beverly Hills CA business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Beverly Hills CA colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Beverly Hills CA colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Beverly Hills home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Beverly Hills CA, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design Program near Beverly Hills California

interior designed kitchen in Beverly Hills CaliforniaPicking the ideal interior design school is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Beverly Hills California.