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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Burlingame CA

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Designer Course

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Burlingame CA, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require 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 very important that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you begin? Many future students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, 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 Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Burlingame CA

Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The primary distinction between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working 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 educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Burlingame CA may specialize in:

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

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Burlingame California interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new career in Burlingame CA. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short 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 field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business 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 two year programs provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university 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", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Online Interior Design Schools

Burlingame CA student attending interior design school onlineFor anyone wishing to study in the convenience of their Burlingame CA homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Programs

After you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Burlingame CA residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you select 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training 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 Burlingame California employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get 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 college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Burlingame CA program you select should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Burlingame CA business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Burlingame CA colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Burlingame CA schools you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Burlingame home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Burlingame CA, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Design College near Burlingame California

interior designed kitchen in Burlingame CaliforniaPicking the right interior designer college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Finding a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Burlingame California.