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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Brentwood CA

How to Select the Right Interior Designer Course

Now that 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 talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues 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 topics 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 compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Brentwood CA

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The key distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Brentwood CA may specialize in:

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

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, 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 principles, Brentwood California interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to start your new profession in Brentwood CA. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training 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 commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs 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 generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field 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 comfort of their Brentwood CA homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Brentwood CA residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers 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 school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Brentwood California employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several 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 school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Brentwood CA school you select should also provide the suitable instruction 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? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. 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 higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Brentwood CA business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Brentwood CA schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Brentwood CA programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Brentwood home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Brentwood CA, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Design Program near Brentwood California

interior designed kitchen in Brentwood CaliforniaChoosing the right interior designer college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. 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 complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Brentwood California.