Home >> California >> Castro Valley >> Interior Design Schools Online


Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Castro Valley CA

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Castro Valley CA, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you get the appropriate 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 training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you begin? Many prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.

Start Your Interior Design Career By Requesting Free Info on Local Schools Below

Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Castro Valley CA

Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The primary difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Castro Valley CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might 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, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Castro Valley California interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new career in Castro Valley CA. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business needed 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 furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who wish 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", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Designer Online Schools

Castro Valley CA student attending interior design school onlineFor students who wish to study in the comfort of their Castro Valley CA homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Castro Valley CA residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Castro Valley California employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Castro Valley CA college you choose should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a large network of Castro Valley CA business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Castro Valley CA schools you are reviewing and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Castro Valley CA schools you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Castro Valley home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Castro Valley CA, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Design Program near Castro Valley California

interior designed kitchen in Castro Valley CaliforniaChoosing the right interior designer college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Castro Valley California.