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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Carson CA

How to Pick the Best Interior Design Degree Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Carson CA, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But just where do you begin? Some future students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Carson CA

Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The principal distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Carson CA may specialize in:

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

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Carson California interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new career in Carson CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Colleges

Carson CA student attending interior design school onlineFor anyone wishing to study in the convenience of their Carson CA homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges

When you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Carson CA home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and college that you select has earned accreditation from 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 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Carson California employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Carson CA school you choose should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a substantial network of Carson CA business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Carson CA schools you are looking at and ask what kind of support they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Carson CA colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Carson home, go to the campus and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design school 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 in the evening or on weekends near Carson CA, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Right Interior Designer Program near Carson California

interior designed kitchen in Carson CaliforniaSelecting the ideal interior design school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Carson California.