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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Canoga Park CA

How to Find the Right Interior Design School

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer 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 important that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But where do you start? Many prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges 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 reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 alternatives are offered.

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Interior Design and 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 education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Canoga Park CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. 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 kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

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

Interior Design Degree Options

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new profession in Canoga Park CA. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make 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 addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education required 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 usually 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 facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Colleges

Canoga Park CA student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Canoga Park CA homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Canoga Park CA home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional 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 undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Canoga Park California employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prepare 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) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Canoga Park CA school you enroll in should also furnish the suitable education 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Canoga Park CA business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Canoga Park CA colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Canoga Park CA programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Canoga Park home, go to the college 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 styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Canoga Park CA, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design College near Canoga Park California

interior designed kitchen in Canoga Park CaliforniaPicking the right interior designer college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of things to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Canoga Park California.