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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Boyle Heights CA

How to Choose the Best Interior Design Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program 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 interiors, it's important that you get the right 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 examination as well. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. But just where do you start? A number of future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered also. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Boyle Heights CA

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The primary distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Boyle Heights CA can specialize in:

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

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

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training needed to start your new profession in Boyle Heights CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at numerous California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions 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 components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Online Interior Design Colleges

Boyle Heights CA student attending interior design school onlineFor anyone wishing to study in the convenience of their Boyle Heights CA homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Boyle Heights CA home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design school and program 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Boyle Heights California employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Boyle Heights CA school you choose should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a large network of Boyle Heights CA business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Boyle Heights CA colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Boyle Heights CA schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Boyle Heights home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly 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, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose 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 artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate 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.