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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Brentwood CA

How to Choose the Best Interior Designer Degree Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Brentwood 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 interiors, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several 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 very important that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. But exactly where do you begin? Some prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Brentwood CA

Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The principal distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Brentwood CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently 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 may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often focus predominantly 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 focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Brentwood California interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new career in Brentwood CA. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives 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 needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Online Interior Designer Degree Programs

Brentwood CA student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to study in the convenience of their Brentwood CA homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you enroll in 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 dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges

After you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Brentwood CA home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. 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 evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Brentwood California employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Brentwood CA school you select should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a significant network of Brentwood CA business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Brentwood CA colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Brentwood CA schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Brentwood home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Brentwood CA, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design College near Brentwood California

interior designed kitchen in Brentwood CaliforniaSelecting the ideal interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Brentwood California.