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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Burlingame CA

How to Choose the Right Interior Design School

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Burlingame CA, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you start? A number of prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 options are offered.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Burlingame CA

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The principal difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education 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 work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Burlingame CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

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

Interior Design Degrees

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new profession in Burlingame CA. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at numerous California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized 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 primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally 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 colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Why Train to Become an Interior Designer?

Burlingame CA student attending interior design school onlineThere are many options available to you once you graduate and enter the field of interior design.  If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit you may become self-employed and open your own interior design shop. You might also work for a small or larger design firm. Designers have careers creating interiors for businesses, hospitals, government buildings, as well as private residences. Rarely is a design career a 9 to 5 job. You’ll need to be flexible, patient, and persistent to get your career off the ground. But you will have the opportunity to earn an attractive income as well as the personal satisfaction of creating beautiful living and working spaces.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs

When you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Burlingame CA home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design program and school 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Burlingame California employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Burlingame CA college you enroll in should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may 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 Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Burlingame CA schools you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Burlingame CA schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Burlingame home, visit the campus and attend 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 approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Burlingame CA, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Right Interior Designer Program near Burlingame California

interior designed kitchen in Burlingame CaliforniaPicking the ideal interior designer school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are a number of things to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still important 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 colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Burlingame California.