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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Burbank CA

How to Find the Best Interior Designer College

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Burbank CA, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you start? Some potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should 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 options are offered.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Burbank CA

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The principal difference between the two is the level 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 a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Burbank CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of 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 looks as the primary concern.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Burbank California interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new profession in Burbank CA. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose 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 explanations 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 two years to complete and programs are available at numerous California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish 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 require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Interior Designer Online Classes

Burbank CA student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Burbank CA homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges

After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Burbank CA home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from 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). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. 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 securing financial assistance 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 jobs.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become 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 school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Burbank CA school you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication 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 school has a substantial network of Burbank CA business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Burbank CA schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Burbank CA schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Burbank home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Burbank CA, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Design Program near Burbank California

interior designed kitchen in Burbank CaliforniaPicking the right interior designer school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Burbank California.