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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Burbank CA

How to Pick the Right Interior Design Course

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Burbank CA, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are considering before you make your final selection. But just where do you start? Some future students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation 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 before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Burbank CA

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The principal distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting 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 trained to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Burbank CA may specialize in:

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

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Burbank California interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new profession in Burbank CA. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have 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 required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain 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 deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Why Do You Want to Be an Interior Designer?

Burbank CA student attending interior design school onlineThere are many options available to you once you graduate and enter the field of interior design.  If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit you may become self-employed and open your own interior design shop. You might also work for a small or larger design firm. Designers have careers creating interiors for businesses, hospitals, government buildings, as well as private residences. Rarely is a design career a 9 to 5 job. You’ll need to be flexible, patient, and persistent to get your career off the ground. But you will have the opportunity to earn an attractive income as well as the personal satisfaction of creating beautiful living and working spaces.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

After you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Burbank CA residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 education are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Burbank California employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate 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 several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides providing an excellent education, the Burbank CA college you select should also provide the appropriate education 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? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance 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 students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Burbank CA business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Burbank CA schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Burbank CA programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Burbank home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Burbank CA, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School near Burbank California

interior designed kitchen in Burbank CaliforniaSelecting the ideal interior designer college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several factors to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Burbank California.