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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Brea CA

How to Find the Best Interior Designer College

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Brea CA, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate choice. But where do you start? Some potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.

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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 main difference between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training 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 work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories 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 basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must 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 concepts, Brea California interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

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

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at a number of California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Brea California interior designer bathroomWhen you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Brea CA residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and college that you select 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). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when requesting 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 programs for entry level positions.

Does the College 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) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Brea CA program you enroll in should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask 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 trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Brea CA business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Brea CA schools you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Brea CA colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Brea home, go to 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 styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant 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, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design College near Brea California

interior designed kitchen in Brea CaliforniaSelecting the ideal interior designer program is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Brea California.