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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Brea CA

How to Pick the Best Interior Designer School

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Brea CA, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are considering before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? Some potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Brea CA

Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The principal difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working 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 work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Brea CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. 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 principles, Brea California interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new profession in Brea CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized 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. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

What to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Brea California interior designer bathroomWhen you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Brea CA residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional 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 gone through a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Brea California employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get 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 calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Brea CA school you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a large network of Brea CA business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Brea CA schools you are looking at and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Brea CA schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Brea 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 credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Brea CA, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Best Interior Design School near Brea California

interior designed kitchen in Brea CaliforniaSelecting the right interior design program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Brea California.