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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Brea CA

How to Select the Best Interior Designer Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Brea CA, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final choice. But where do you begin? Many prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design schools 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. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, 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 and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Brea CA

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

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

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

Interior Design Degree Options

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training required to launch your new career in Brea CA. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at numerous California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Classes

Brea CA student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Brea CA homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Brea CA home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining 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 organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Brea California employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require 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 requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Brea CA college you choose should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a significant network of Brea CA business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Brea CA schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is essential 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 Large 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 colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Brea home, visit the college and attend 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 Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Brea CA, make certain 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, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Best Interior Designer School near Brea California

interior designed kitchen in Brea CaliforniaSelecting the ideal interior designer program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Brea California.