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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Carson CA

How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Carson CA, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? A number of prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital 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 class alternatives are available.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Carson CA

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The principal difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Carson CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Carson California interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new career in Carson CA. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Designer Online Degree Programs

Carson CA student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Carson CA homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

When you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Carson CA residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from 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). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Carson California employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get 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 program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Carson CA program you select should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a large network of Carson CA business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Carson CA colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Carson CA colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Carson home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Carson CA, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify 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 School near Carson California

interior designed kitchen in Carson CaliforniaPicking the right interior design program is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Carson California.