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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Burbank CA

How to Pick the Best Interior Design Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Burbank CA, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, 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 Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Burbank CA

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The main distinction between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Burbank 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 bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Burbank California interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new career in Burbank CA. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted 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 mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student 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 provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Online Interior Designer Classes

Burbank CA student attending interior design school onlineFor students who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Burbank CA homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have hectic 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 many students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive 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 Programs

Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Burbank CA residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation 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 agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Burbank California employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of 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 requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Burbank CA college you select should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Burbank CA business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Burbank CA schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively 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 probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Burbank CA schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Burbank home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Burbank CA, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design College near Burbank California

interior designed kitchen in Burbank CaliforniaSelecting the ideal interior design program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many points to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Burbank California.