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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Carlsbad CA

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design School

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Carlsbad CA, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are considering before you make your final decision. But just where do you begin? Many potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, 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 vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Carlsbad CA

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The primary distinction between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Carlsbad CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate 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 banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

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

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new career in Carlsbad CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives 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, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at numerous California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five 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, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Carlsbad California interior designer bathroomNow that you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Carlsbad CA residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Carlsbad California employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate 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 college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Carlsbad CA college you choose should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy 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 obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs 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 an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a significant network of Carlsbad CA business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Carlsbad CA schools you are looking at and find out what type of support they provide. Many of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Carlsbad CA programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Carlsbad home, go to the campus and attend 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 backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Carlsbad CA, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Design College near Carlsbad California

interior designed kitchen in Carlsbad CaliforniaChoosing the right interior design program is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. 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 colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Carlsbad California.