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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Buena Park CA

How to Choose the Best Interior Design Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design 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 important that you receive the proper 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 could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? Many potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in 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 options are available.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Buena Park CA

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business 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 educated to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Buena Park CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

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

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new profession in Buena Park CA. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring 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 the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs 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 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Designer Online Colleges

Buena Park CA student attending interior design school onlineFor anyone wishing to study in the convenience of their Buena Park CA homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are working or have hectic 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 many students online programs may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Buena Park CA residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected 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 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when requesting 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 schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Buena Park CA school you enroll in should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering 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 profession and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Buena Park CA business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Buena Park CA schools you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Buena Park CA schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Buena Park home, go to the school and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Buena Park CA, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Design School near Buena Park California

interior designed kitchen in Buena Park CaliforniaPicking the ideal interior design college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Buena Park California.