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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Burlingame CA

How to Pick the Right Interior Design Program

Once 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 essential that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But exactly where do you start? Many future students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, 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 Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Burlingame CA

Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas 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 essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate 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 focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

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

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training required to start your new profession in Burlingame CA. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Why Do You Want to Be 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.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Burlingame CA residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and college that you select 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program 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 training are excellent, 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 employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require 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 program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Burlingame CA college you choose should also furnish the proper education 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 College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of Burlingame CA business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Burlingame CA colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of support they provide. Many of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Burlingame CA colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Burlingame home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of 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 backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Burlingame CA, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer College near Burlingame California

interior designed kitchen in Burlingame CaliforniaChoosing the right interior designer program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several things to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Burlingame California.