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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Campbell CA

How to Choose the Best Interior Design Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Campbell CA, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But just where do you start? A number of prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk 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 Campbell CA

Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The principal difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Campbell CA may specialize in:

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

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to 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 principles, Campbell California interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to start your new career in Campbell CA. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt 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) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at many California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many 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 degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Online Interior Designer Colleges

Campbell CA student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to study in the comfort of their Campbell CA homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, 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 distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Campbell CA residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Campbell California employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Campbell CA school you select should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination 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 earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement 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 highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Campbell CA business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Campbell CA colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Campbell CA colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Campbell home, visit the college and attend a couple of 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Campbell CA, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design Program near Campbell California

interior designed kitchen in Campbell CaliforniaPicking the right interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Campbell California.