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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Boyle Heights CA

How to Find the Best Interior Design School

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Boyle Heights 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 interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But where do you start? Many potential students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching 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 available.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Boyle Heights CA

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The primary difference between them is the level 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 requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Boyle Heights CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks 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, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Boyle Heights California interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new profession in Boyle Heights CA. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at many California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Why Become an Interior Designer?

Boyle Heights 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.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs

When you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Boyle Heights CA home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry 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 instructors. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college 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 accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Boyle Heights California employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the School 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 school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Boyle Heights CA college you enroll in should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher 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 indicate that the school has a sizable network of Boyle Heights CA business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Boyle Heights CA colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Boyle Heights CA colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Boyle Heights home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Boyle Heights CA, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design College near Boyle Heights California

interior designed kitchen in Boyle Heights CaliforniaChoosing the right interior designer college is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Boyle Heights California.