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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Boyle Heights CA

How to Pick the Best Interior Design School

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Boyle Heights CA, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are considering before you make your final decision. But where do you start? Many potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other important 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 options are offered.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Boyle Heights CA

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The primary difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many 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 collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Boyle Heights CA can specialize in:

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

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Boyle Heights California interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to start your new career in Boyle Heights CA. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations 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 profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business 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 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs 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 professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Boyle Heights California interior designer bathroomAfter you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Boyle Heights CA home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and college that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment 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 school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Boyle Heights California employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Boyle Heights CA school you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Boyle Heights CA business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Boyle Heights CA colleges you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Boyle Heights CA programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Boyle Heights home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak 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? Finally, make certain that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Boyle Heights CA, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Design Program near Boyle Heights California

interior designed kitchen in Boyle Heights CaliforniaChoosing the right interior designer program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Boyle Heights California.