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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Burlingame CA

How to Find the Best Interior Design School

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Burlingame CA, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you receive the proper 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 may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But where do you begin? A number of future students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. We will cover those issues and other crucial 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 training options are available.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Burlingame CA

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The principal distinction between them is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Burlingame CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area 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 public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly 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 stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

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

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new profession in Burlingame CA. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed 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 two year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely 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.

In order 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 called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Burlingame California interior designer bathroomWhen you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Burlingame CA residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and college 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the degree program and the college 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 training are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Burlingame California employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the College Ready 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 program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Burlingame CA college you select should also furnish the appropriate education 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 School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out 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 field and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a significant network of Burlingame CA business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Burlingame CA colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Burlingame CA schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Burlingame home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Burlingame CA, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Best Interior Design Program near Burlingame California

interior designed kitchen in Burlingame CaliforniaSelecting the ideal interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of things to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Burlingame California.