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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Buena Park CA

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Designer Degree Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Buena Park CA, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift 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 become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you begin? Some future students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking 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 alternatives are offered.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Buena Park CA

Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The main difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living 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 can specialize in:

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

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

Interior Design Degrees

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to begin your new profession in Buena Park CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five 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, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Online Interior Design Classes

Buena Park CA student attending interior design school onlineFor anyone wishing to attend classes in the convenience of their Buena Park CA homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Buena Park CA residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design school and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Buena Park California employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prep 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 school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Buena Park CA program you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Buena Park CA business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Buena Park CA schools you are evaluating and find out what type of support they provide. A number of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Buena Park CA programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Buena Park home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design college 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 attend classes at night or on weekends near Buena Park CA, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Design School near Buena Park California

interior designed kitchen in Buena Park CaliforniaSelecting the right interior design school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several points to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Buena Park California.