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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Cathedral City CA

How to Pick the Best Interior Design School

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Cathedral City 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 important that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But where do you begin? Some potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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 Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Cathedral City CA

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The principal distinction between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Cathedral City CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, 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 primary consideration.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Cathedral City California interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new profession in Cathedral City CA. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade needed 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 supply advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

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

Online Interior Designer Schools

Cathedral City CA student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Cathedral City CA homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized 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 distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Cathedral City CA home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design college and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Cathedral City California employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require 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 school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Cathedral City CA program you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

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 position. Ask the schools 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 a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a substantial network of Cathedral City CA business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Cathedral City CA schools you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Cathedral City CA schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Cathedral City home, go to the college and monitor a couple of 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Cathedral City CA, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Right Interior Designer Program near Cathedral City California

interior designed kitchen in Cathedral City CaliforniaChoosing the right interior design school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Cathedral City California.