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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Campbell CA

How to Choose the Right Interior Design School

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Campbell CA, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But where do you start? Many future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, 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 Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Campbell CA

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The principal distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Campbell CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

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

Interior Design Degree Options

There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new career in Campbell CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Schools

Campbell CA student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Campbell CA homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Schools

When you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Campbell CA residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. 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 factors that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial assistance 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 colleges for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get 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 some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Campbell CA college you select should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a significant network of Campbell CA business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Campbell CA colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Campbell CA programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Campbell home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly 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 offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design College near Campbell California

interior designed kitchen in Campbell CaliforniaChoosing the right interior design program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of things to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. 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 schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Campbell California.