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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Canoga Park CA

How to Choose the Best Interior Designer Course

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Canoga Park CA, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate 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 very important that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But where do you begin? Many potential students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.

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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 main distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Canoga Park CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Canoga Park California interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new profession in Canoga Park CA. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative 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 job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

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

Why Do You Want to Be 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.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Canoga Park CA home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional 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 a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining 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 schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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 school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Canoga Park CA program you select should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Canoga Park CA business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Canoga Park CA schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Canoga Park CA programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Canoga Park home, visit the campus and attend 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 credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Canoga Park CA, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design College near Canoga Park California

interior designed kitchen in Canoga Park CaliforniaPicking the right interior designer program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are several points to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Canoga Park California.