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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Buena Park CA

How to Choose the Right Interior Design Degree Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Buena Park CA, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you get the appropriate 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 could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you do the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But where do you begin? Many 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 decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other vital 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 available.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Buena Park CA

Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The primary difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Buena Park CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need 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 concepts, Buena Park California interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new profession in Buena Park CA. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed 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. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at many California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver 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 lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Buena Park California interior designer bathroomOnce you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Buena Park CA home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. 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 college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Buena Park California employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require 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 mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Buena Park CA school you choose should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Buena Park CA business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Buena Park CA schools you are looking at and ask what kind of support they provide. A number of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Buena Park CA programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student 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 find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your active 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 Buena Park CA, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Right Interior Design Program near Buena Park California

interior designed kitchen in Buena Park CaliforniaSelecting the right interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several factors to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Buena Park California.