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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Carson CA

How to Select the Best Interior Design School

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Carson CA, it's time to begin 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 get the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But just where do you start? Many future students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Carson CA

Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The main difference 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. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Carson CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Carson California interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new profession in Carson CA. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at many California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Why Do You Want to Be an Interior Designer?

Carson 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.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs

Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Carson CA residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Carson California employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the College Ready 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) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Carson CA program you choose should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Carson CA business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Carson CA schools you are reviewing and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Carson CA colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Carson home, go to the campus and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Carson CA, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Choose the Best Interior Designer College near Carson California

interior designed kitchen in Carson CaliforniaSelecting the right interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Carson California.