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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Brentwood CA

How to Select the Right Interior Design Course

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Brentwood CA, it's time to begin the process of choosing 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 a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you begin? A number of future students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 alternatives are offered.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Brentwood CA

Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The main distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Brentwood CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room 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 public or commercial areas, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

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

Interior Design Degrees

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new profession in Brentwood CA. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations 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 two years to finish and programs are available at numerous California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs

Brentwood California interior designer bathroomAfter you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Brentwood CA home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Brentwood California employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Brentwood CA school you select should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a substantial network of Brentwood CA business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Brentwood CA schools you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Brentwood CA colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Brentwood home, go to the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Brentwood CA, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design Program near Brentwood California

interior designed kitchen in Brentwood CaliforniaSelecting the right interior design program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are many points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations 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 excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Brentwood California.