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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Burlingame CA

How to Choose the Right Interior Designer College

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Burlingame CA, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final decision. But just where do you start? Some future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Burlingame CA

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The key distinction between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Burlingame CA can specialize in:

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

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Burlingame California interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new career in Burlingame CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt 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 field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Why Study 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

Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Burlingame CA residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in 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). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Burlingame California employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate 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 school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Burlingame CA program you choose should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Burlingame CA business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Burlingame CA schools you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they offer. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Burlingame CA programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Burlingame home, go to the campus 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 philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Burlingame CA, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer College near Burlingame California

interior designed kitchen in Burlingame CaliforniaPicking the right interior designer program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many things to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Burlingame California.