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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Burlingame CA

How to Choose the Right Interior Designer School

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school 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 imperative that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But where do you begin? Many prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you should be asking 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 choices are offered.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Burlingame CA

Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The key 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 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 taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Burlingame CA may specialize in:

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

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Burlingame California interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training required to launch your new career in Burlingame CA. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of 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) exam required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide 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 their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

What to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Burlingame California interior designer bathroomAfter you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Burlingame CA home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. 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 education are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Burlingame California employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Burlingame CA college you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Burlingame CA business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Burlingame CA colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Burlingame CA colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Burlingame home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. While there talk 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 Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you select 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 in the evening or on weekends near Burlingame CA, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design College near Burlingame California

interior designed kitchen in Burlingame CaliforniaPicking the ideal interior design school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several factors to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the 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 quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Burlingame California.