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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Carson CA

How to Find the Best Interior Designer College

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Carson CA, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But just where do you start? A number of prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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 vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Carson CA

Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Carson CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Carson California interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new profession in Carson CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives 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 needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest 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 provide advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized 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 programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

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 several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Online Interior Design Degree Programs

Carson CA student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Carson CA homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, 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 education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Programs

When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Carson CA home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm 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 training are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many 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 require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Carson CA school you enroll in should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a substantial network of Carson CA business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Carson CA schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Carson CA colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Carson home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk 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? Finally, verify that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Carson CA, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design Program near Carson California

interior designed kitchen in Carson CaliforniaSelecting the right interior designer program is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Carson California.