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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Campbell CA

How to Choose the Right Interior Design Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Campbell CA, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But where do you start? A number of prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking 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 alternatives are available.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Campbell CA

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

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, 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 stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

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

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training required to start your new profession in Campbell CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced 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 choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Campbell California interior designer bathroomNow that you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Campbell CA home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Campbell California employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Campbell CA school you enroll in should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet 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 attained 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, find out 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 trade and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Campbell CA business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Campbell CA colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Campbell CA programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Campbell home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Campbell CA, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Design College near Campbell California

interior designed kitchen in Campbell CaliforniaChoosing the ideal interior designer college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are many things to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Campbell California.