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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Burlingame CA

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Degree Program

Once you have made a decision 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 important that you receive the appropriate 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 also. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But just where do you start? Some prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered also. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in 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 available.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Burlingame CA

Some people mistake 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 have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Burlingame CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal 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 consideration.

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

Interior Design Training Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new career in Burlingame CA. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at many California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate 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 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 Designer Schools

After 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 an important factor, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Burlingame CA residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field 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 confirm 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial assistance 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 Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some 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 college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an excellent education, the Burlingame CA college you select should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of Burlingame CA business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Burlingame CA schools you are looking at and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Burlingame CA colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Burlingame home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer school you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Burlingame CA, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design School near Burlingame California

interior designed kitchen in Burlingame CaliforniaChoosing the right interior design program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Burlingame California.