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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Campbell CA

How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Degree Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Campbell CA, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you do the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But where do you start? Many potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account as well. We will address those issues and other crucial 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 training alternatives are available.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Campbell CA

Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The main difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Campbell CA may specialize in:

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

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Campbell California interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new profession in Campbell CA. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter 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) exam mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

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

What to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Campbell California interior designer bathroomAfter you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Campbell CA residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.

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

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Campbell CA program you select should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help 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 an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a large network of Campbell CA business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Campbell CA schools you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Campbell CA colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Campbell home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Campbell CA, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Design Program near Campbell California

interior designed kitchen in Campbell CaliforniaChoosing the ideal interior design program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several points to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Campbell California.