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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 made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Beverly Hills CA, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But just where do you begin? Many future students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools 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 only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Beverly Hills CA

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The principal difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Beverly Hills CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically 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 specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers 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 concepts, Beverly Hills California interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new profession in Beverly Hills CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose 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) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects 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 position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Interior Designer Online Degree Programs

Beverly Hills CA student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Beverly Hills CA homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

When you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Beverly Hills CA home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from 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 assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, 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 hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become 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 program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Beverly Hills CA college you select should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a large network of Beverly Hills CA business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Beverly Hills CA colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of support they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Beverly Hills CA colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Beverly Hills home, visit the school and attend a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design school you choose offers 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 Beverly Hills CA, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School near Beverly Hills California

interior designed kitchen in Beverly Hills CaliforniaPicking the ideal interior designer college is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many points to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Beverly Hills California.