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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Brea CA

How to Pick the Best Interior Design College

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design 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 spaces, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are considering before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? Many potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in 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 options are available.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Brea CA

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The key difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Brea CA may specialize in:

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

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Brea California interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new career in Brea CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at many California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs 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 creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

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.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools

After you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Brea CA home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Brea California employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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 as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Brea CA college you select should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Brea CA business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Brea CA schools you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Brea CA programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Brea home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. While there speak 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Brea CA, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Design Program near Brea California

interior designed kitchen in Brea CaliforniaPicking the right interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are many factors to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Brea California.