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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Brentwood CA

How to Pick the Best Interior Designer Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Brentwood CA, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you carry out the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you start? Some potential students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 options are available.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Brentwood CA

Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The principal difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates 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 living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories 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 essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Brentwood California interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new career in Brentwood CA. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position 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 offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically 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 some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Why Become an Interior Designer?

Brentwood CA student attending interior design school onlineThere are many options available to you once you graduate and enter the field of interior design.  If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit you may become self-employed and open your own interior design shop. You might also work for a small or larger design firm. Designers have careers creating interiors for businesses, hospitals, government buildings, as well as private residences. Rarely is a design career a 9 to 5 job. You’ll need to be flexible, patient, and persistent to get your career off the ground. But you will have the opportunity to earn an attractive income as well as the personal satisfaction of creating beautiful living and working spaces.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs

When you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Brentwood CA residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit 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 decision. There are other things that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Brentwood California employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Brentwood CA program you choose should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of Brentwood CA business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Brentwood CA colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Brentwood CA schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Brentwood home, go to the college and monitor 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 approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Brentwood CA, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Best Interior Design College near Brentwood California

interior designed kitchen in Brentwood CaliforniaSelecting the right interior design school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are several things to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Brentwood California.