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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Burbank CA

How to Select the Right Interior Design College

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Burbank 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 interiors, it's imperative that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But just where do you begin? A number of future students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask 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 available.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Burbank CA

Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Burbank CA may specialize in:

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

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

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new career in Burbank CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer 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. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Burbank California interior designer bathroomOnce you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Burbank CA home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. 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 college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Burbank California employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Burbank CA school you enroll in should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Burbank CA business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Burbank CA schools you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Burbank CA schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Burbank home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to 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 Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Burbank CA, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School near Burbank California

interior designed kitchen in Burbank CaliforniaSelecting the right interior design college is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Burbank California.