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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Buena Park CA

How to Select the Right Interior Designer School

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Buena Park CA, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you carry out the proper research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you begin? Some potential students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Buena Park CA

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The primary distinction between them is the level of training 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, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Buena Park CA can specialize in:

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

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

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new profession in Buena Park CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit 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 qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at many California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Why Train to Become 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 Programs

Once you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process 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 residence. Obviously 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 fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded 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 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when securing financial assistance 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 programs for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get 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 program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Buena Park CA school you choose should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill 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 attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Buena Park CA business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance 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 schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Buena Park CA programs you are looking at what their typical 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 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Buena Park CA, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Design College near Buena Park California

interior designed kitchen in Buena Park CaliforniaSelecting the ideal interior designer program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of things to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Buena Park California.