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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Burlingame CA

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design 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 skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But where do you start? Some future students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will address those topics 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 training options are offered.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Burlingame CA

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The main distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Burlingame CA can specialize in:

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

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

Interior Design Degrees

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new career in Burlingame CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at many California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Burlingame California interior designer bathroomAfter you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Burlingame CA home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the cheapest college 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 program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design program and college that you choose has been accredited by 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial assistance 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 programs for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become 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 several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So besides providing an excellent education, the Burlingame CA college you select should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements 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 probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Burlingame CA business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Burlingame CA schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Burlingame CA programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Burlingame home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Burlingame CA, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Choose the Best Interior Designer School near Burlingame California

interior designed kitchen in Burlingame CaliforniaChoosing the right interior design school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several factors to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Burlingame California.