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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Burlingame CA

How to Find the Right Interior Design Course

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Burlingame CA, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? A number of potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Burlingame CA

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The principal difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Burlingame CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Burlingame California interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new profession in Burlingame CA. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select 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 addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at many California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly 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 cover the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

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

Online Interior Design Degree Programs

Burlingame CA student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Burlingame CA homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Burlingame CA home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from 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 undergone a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Burlingame California employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Burlingame CA program you select should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a significant network of Burlingame CA business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Burlingame CA colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited 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, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Burlingame CA, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Best Interior Designer Program near Burlingame California

interior designed kitchen in Burlingame CaliforniaPicking the ideal interior design school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are several things to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Burlingame California.