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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Canoga Park CA

How to Select the Right Interior Design Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Canoga Park CA, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? A number of future students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered also. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Canoga Park CA

Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas 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 room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Canoga Park California interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new profession in Canoga Park CA. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree 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 design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

What to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Canoga Park California interior designer bathroomNow that you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Canoga Park CA residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design program and school that you choose has been accredited by 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. 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 offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Canoga Park California employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Canoga Park CA school you enroll in should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Canoga Park CA business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Canoga Park CA colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of support they offer. Many of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Canoga Park CA colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Canoga Park home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Canoga Park CA, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Designer School near Canoga Park California

interior designed kitchen in Canoga Park CaliforniaPicking the ideal interior design school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Canoga Park California.