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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Brea CA

How to Choose the Right Interior Designer College

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Brea CA, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you receive the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you carry out the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But where do you start? Some prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask 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 class alternatives are available.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Brea CA

Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The principal distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Brea CA can specialize in:

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

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Brea California interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new profession in Brea CA. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide 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) exam required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many California community colleges and vocational schools. 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 trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically 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 some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Colleges

Brea CA student attending interior design school onlineFor students who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Brea CA homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Schools

When you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college 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 relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design college and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Brea California employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become 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, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an excellent education, the Brea CA school you choose should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. 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 indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a significant network of Brea CA business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Brea CA colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Brea CA colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Brea home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Brea CA, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Choose the Best Interior Designer Program near Brea California

interior designed kitchen in Brea CaliforniaPicking the ideal interior design school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several things to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Brea California.