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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Campbell CA

How to Pick the Best Interior Designer Degree Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program 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 imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you do the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you start? Some prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will discuss those issues 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 training alternatives are offered.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Campbell CA

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The key 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. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Campbell CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, 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 looks as the primary concern.

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 use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Campbell California interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new profession in Campbell CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide 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 required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at a number of California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things 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 mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Online Interior Design Degree Programs

Campbell CA student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to study in the convenience of their Campbell CA homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online programs 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. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication 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.

What to Ask Interior Design Programs

When you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Campbell CA home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design program and school that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Campbell California employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some 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 program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Campbell CA program you enroll in should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of Campbell CA business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Campbell CA schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Campbell CA colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Campbell home, go to the college and monitor 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 styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer school you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Campbell CA, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Designer Program near Campbell California

interior designed kitchen in Campbell CaliforniaPicking the right interior designer program is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Campbell California.