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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Canoga Park CA

How to Pick the Best Interior Designer Course

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Canoga Park CA, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. But just where do you start? Some prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you should be asking 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 choices are available.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Canoga Park CA

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The main distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Canoga Park CA may specialize in:

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

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Canoga Park California interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training required to start your new profession in Canoga Park CA. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be covered 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 education required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty 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. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who desire 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 adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Why Train to Become an Interior Designer?

Canoga Park CA student attending interior design school onlineThere are many options available to you once you graduate and enter the field of interior design.  If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit you may become self-employed and open your own interior design shop. You might also work for a small or larger design firm. Designers have careers creating interiors for businesses, hospitals, government buildings, as well as private residences. Rarely is a design career a 9 to 5 job. You’ll need to be flexible, patient, and persistent to get your career off the ground. But you will have the opportunity to earn an attractive income as well as the personal satisfaction of creating beautiful living and working spaces.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Canoga Park CA home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged 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 requesting 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 College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get 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 school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Canoga Park CA school you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam 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 received your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a sizable network of Canoga Park CA business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Canoga Park CA colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small 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 Canoga Park CA schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Canoga Park home, go to the campus and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Canoga Park CA, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Right Interior Design School near Canoga Park California

interior designed kitchen in Canoga Park CaliforniaChoosing the ideal interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many points to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Canoga Park California.