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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Buena Park CA

How to Select the Right Interior Design College

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Buena Park CA, it's time to start 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 obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. But just where do you begin? A number of prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Buena Park CA

Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. 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 trained to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Buena Park CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Buena Park California interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new profession in Buena Park CA. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire 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 as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Buena Park California interior designer bathroomNow that you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Buena Park CA home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer college and program that you choose 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 gone through an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Buena Park California employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Buena Park CA college you select should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with 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 attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Buena Park CA business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Buena Park CA colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Buena Park CA programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Buena Park home, visit the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Buena Park CA, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Best Interior Design Program near Buena Park California

interior designed kitchen in Buena Park CaliforniaChoosing the right interior designer college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many things to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Buena Park California.