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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Calexico CA

How to Select the Best Interior Designer School

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Calexico CA, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But where do you start? A number of potential students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask 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 training alternatives are offered.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Calexico CA

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The primary 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 areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Calexico CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Calexico California interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new career in Calexico CA. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Degree Programs

Calexico CA student attending interior design school onlineFor students who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Calexico CA homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs

After you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Calexico CA home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and school that you choose 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Calexico California employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become 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 college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Calexico CA program you select should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet 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 attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing 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 college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of Calexico CA business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Calexico CA colleges you are looking at and find out what type of support they provide. A number of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Calexico CA schools you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Calexico home, visit the campus and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your active 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 Calexico CA, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design School near Calexico California

interior designed kitchen in Calexico CaliforniaSelecting the ideal interior designer school is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several things to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Calexico California.