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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Canoga Park CA

How to Find the Right Interior Design Degree Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Canoga Park CA, it's time to start 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 get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon 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 assess and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you start? Some potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account as well. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, 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 Canoga Park CA

Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The primary difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent 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 Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Canoga Park CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically 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 may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Canoga Park California interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new profession in Canoga Park CA. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at many California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate 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 achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require 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 examination.

What to Ask Interior Design Schools

Canoga Park California interior designer bathroomNow that you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Canoga Park CA home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national 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 gone through an extensive 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, 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 programs for entry level positions.

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

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering 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 held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a substantial network of Canoga Park CA business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Canoga Park CA schools you are reviewing and ask what type of support they provide. Many of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from 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 sit in on a few classes. While there 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Canoga Park CA, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design Program near Canoga Park California

interior designed kitchen in Canoga Park CaliforniaSelecting the ideal interior design college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many points to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Canoga Park California.