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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Castro Valley CA

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Course

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Castro Valley CA, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But just where do you start? Some prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Castro Valley CA

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The principal difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Castro Valley CA may specialize in:

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

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They 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 including Feng shui concepts, Castro Valley California interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new career in Castro Valley CA. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven 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 decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain 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 technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree 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 design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Why Train to Become an Interior Designer?

Castro Valley 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.

What to Ask Interior Designer Programs

When you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Castro Valley CA residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Castro Valley California employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become 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 college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Castro Valley CA school you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at 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 school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a significant network of Castro Valley CA business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Castro Valley CA schools you are looking at and ask what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining 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 college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Castro Valley CA schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Castro Valley home, visit the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Castro Valley CA, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program near Castro Valley California

interior designed kitchen in Castro Valley CaliforniaPicking the ideal interior designer school is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Castro Valley California.