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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Burbank CA

How to Find the Best Interior Design Degree Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school 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 important that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But just where do you start? Some potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Burbank CA

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The main difference between the two 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 spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories 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 kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

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

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new profession in Burbank CA. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at many California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job 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 specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

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

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Burbank California interior designer bathroomOnce you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Burbank CA home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer college and program that you choose has been accredited by 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Burbank California employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of 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, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Burbank CA school you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill 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 obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a large network of Burbank CA business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Burbank CA schools you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Burbank CA programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Burbank home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Burbank CA, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program near Burbank California

interior designed kitchen in Burbank CaliforniaChoosing the ideal interior design college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Burbank California.