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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Boyle Heights CA

How to Find the Best Interior Designer College

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Boyle Heights CA, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But just where do you start? A number of future students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 choices are offered.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Boyle Heights CA

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The principal difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Boyle Heights CA may specialize in:

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

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Boyle Heights California interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new profession in Boyle Heights CA. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically 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 cover the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate 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 attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Online Interior Designer Colleges

Boyle Heights CA student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Boyle Heights CA homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Boyle Heights CA home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. 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 look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design program and college that you choose 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm 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 school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Boyle Heights California employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Boyle Heights CA school you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a substantial network of Boyle Heights CA business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Boyle Heights CA colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Boyle Heights CA colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Boyle Heights home, go to the campus 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 backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Boyle Heights CA, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School near Boyle Heights California

interior designed kitchen in Boyle Heights CaliforniaPicking the right interior design college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many factors to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Boyle Heights California.