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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Boyle Heights CA

How to Pick the Best Interior Design Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Boyle Heights CA, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But just where do you start? A number of potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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 available.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Boyle Heights CA

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The principal distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires 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 trained to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Boyle Heights CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They 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 concepts, Boyle Heights California interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new career 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 commit to 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 take 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 explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at a number of California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Colleges

Boyle Heights CA student attending interior design school onlineFor students who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Boyle Heights CA homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to 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 colleges may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Boyle Heights CA residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining 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 hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some 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 college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Boyle Heights CA college you choose should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a significant network of Boyle Heights CA business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Boyle Heights CA colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they offer. Many of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school 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 personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Boyle Heights CA schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Boyle Heights home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Boyle Heights CA, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Design Program near Boyle Heights California

interior designed kitchen in Boyle Heights CaliforniaChoosing the right interior design program is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Boyle Heights California.