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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Canoga Park CA

How to Choose the Best Interior Designer College

Once 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 picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are considering before you make your final choice. But just where do you begin? Some potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered as well. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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 options are available.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Canoga Park CA

Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The principal difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business 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 requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Canoga Park CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often focus primarily 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 focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Canoga Park California interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new profession in Canoga Park CA. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at numerous California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade required 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 two year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

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

Why Study 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 Colleges

Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Canoga Park CA home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Canoga Park California employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate 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 school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Canoga Park CA college you select should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask 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 field and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Canoga Park CA business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Canoga Park CA schools you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Canoga Park CA schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Canoga Park home, visit the school and attend a few classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night 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, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Right Interior Design Program near Canoga Park California

interior designed kitchen in Canoga Park CaliforniaPicking the right interior design program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several points to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented 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 superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Canoga Park California.