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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Buena Park CA

How to Select the Best Interior Design Degree Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Buena Park CA, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each school that you are considering before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you begin? Some prospective students will kick off 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 only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching 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 offered.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Buena Park CA

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The main difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas 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, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

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

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new career in Buena Park CA. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide 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) exam mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

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

Interior Design Online Degree Programs

Buena Park CA student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Buena Park CA homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools

Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Buena Park CA home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Buena Park California employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become 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 college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Buena Park CA college you choose should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a significant network of Buena Park CA business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Buena Park CA colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Buena Park CA schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Buena Park home, go to the college and sit in on 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 philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Buena Park CA, verify 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 procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Design Program near Buena Park California

interior designed kitchen in Buena Park CaliforniaPicking the right interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire 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 esteemed in the field. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Buena Park California.