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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Buena Park CA

How to Select the Right Interior Design Course

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Buena Park CA, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be 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 appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But just where do you begin? Many future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Buena Park CA

Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The primary difference between them is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Buena Park CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Buena Park California interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training required to begin your new profession in Buena Park CA. Your selection will no doubt be motivated 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 choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at many California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects 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 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Online Interior Design Classes

Buena Park CA student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to study in the comfort of their Buena Park CA homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great 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 home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, 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 distance or online learning. 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 ideal option for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Buena Park CA residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Buena Park California employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of 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 college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Buena Park CA school you choose should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask 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 field and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a sizable network of Buena Park CA business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Buena Park CA colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Buena Park CA programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Buena Park home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. While there talk 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? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Buena Park CA, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design Program near Buena Park California

interior designed kitchen in Buena Park CaliforniaChoosing the ideal interior design school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many factors to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Buena Park California.