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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Canoga Park CA

How to Pick the Right Interior Design College

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Canoga Park CA, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate 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 crucial that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But where do you start? Many future students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Canoga Park CA

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The primary distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Canoga Park CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are several areas of commercial and residential 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 choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Canoga Park California interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new profession in Canoga Park 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 regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment 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 technical and creative components of the trade 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 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

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

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Canoga Park California interior designer bathroomWhen you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Canoga Park CA residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Canoga Park California employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Canoga Park CA school you select should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a significant network of Canoga Park CA business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Canoga Park CA colleges you are looking at and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Canoga Park CA schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Canoga Park home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Canoga Park CA, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer College near Canoga Park California

interior designed kitchen in Canoga Park CaliforniaPicking the right interior design program is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many things to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Canoga Park California.