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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Burbank CA

How to Find the Best Interior Designer Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Burbank 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 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 may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But just where do you start? Some potential students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you must ask 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 training options are offered.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Burbank CA

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The primary difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Burbank 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 a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For 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 concern.

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Burbank California interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training needed to start your new career in Burbank CA. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

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

Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Burbank California interior designer bathroomWhen you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Burbank CA home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Burbank California employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Burbank CA college you select should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Burbank CA business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Burbank CA schools you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they provide. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Burbank CA colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Burbank home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design college you choose 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 go to classes at night or on weekends near Burbank CA, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer College near Burbank California

interior designed kitchen in Burbank CaliforniaSelecting the ideal interior designer program is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many factors to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still imperative 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 effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Burbank California.