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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Buena Park CA

How to Choose the Best Interior Designer Degree Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school 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 residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you carry out the proper research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final selection. But just where do you start? Many potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Buena Park CA

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The main distinction between them is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous 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 spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Buena Park CA may 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, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Buena Park California interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new profession in Buena Park CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions 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 facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally 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 needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Why Do You Want to Be an Interior Designer?

Buena Park 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.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Once you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Buena Park CA residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Buena Park California employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get 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 calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Buena Park CA program you select should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy 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 attained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a significant network of Buena Park CA business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Buena Park CA schools you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Buena Park CA programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Buena Park home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design college you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Buena Park CA, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design Program near Buena Park California

interior designed kitchen in Buena Park CaliforniaPicking the ideal interior design college is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. 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 schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Buena Park California.