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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Brea CA

How to Pick the Best Interior Design School

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Brea CA, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you start? Many potential students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk 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 Brea CA

Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between the two 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 areas. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education 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 residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Brea CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally 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 banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Brea California interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new profession in Brea CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices 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. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who wish 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.

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 some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Brea California interior designer bathroomWhen you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Brea CA home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Brea California employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate 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 program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Brea CA college you select should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Brea CA business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Brea CA colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Brea CA colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Brea home, go to the campus and attend a few 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 credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Brea CA, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Designer College near Brea California

interior designed kitchen in Brea CaliforniaSelecting the ideal interior design college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many points to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Brea California.