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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Brea CA

How to Pick the Best Interior Design Degree Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Brea 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 obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But just where do you begin? Some prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Brea CA

Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The principal difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Brea CA can specialize in:

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

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Brea California interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to start your new profession in Brea CA. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at numerous California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Why Become an Interior Designer?

Brea 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 Design Programs

When you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Brea CA home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Brea California employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require 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 college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Brea CA school you select should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a substantial network of Brea CA business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Brea CA schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Brea CA schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Brea home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer school 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 go to classes at night or on weekends near Brea CA, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer Program near Brea California

interior designed kitchen in Brea CaliforniaPicking the ideal interior designer college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess 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 reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Brea California.