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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Carmichael CA

How to Pick the Best Interior Designer School

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Carmichael CA, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But just where do you begin? Many future students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Carmichael CA

Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many 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 spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Carmichael CA can specialize in:

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

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must 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 integrating Feng shui principles, Carmichael California interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new profession in Carmichael CA. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered 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 level of training needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest 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 design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

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

Interior Designer Online Degree Programs

Carmichael CA student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Carmichael CA homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending 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 schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Carmichael CA home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field 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 instructors. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Carmichael California employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require 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 school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Carmichael CA program you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a significant network of Carmichael CA business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Carmichael CA schools you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Carmichael CA schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Carmichael home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Carmichael CA, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Designer College near Carmichael California

interior designed kitchen in Carmichael CaliforniaChoosing the right interior design college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are several things to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Carmichael California.