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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Cathedral City CA

How to Select the Right Interior Design Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Cathedral City 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 essential that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of 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 crucial that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But exactly where do you start? Many potential students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Cathedral City CA

Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The key distinction between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting 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 educated to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Cathedral City CA may specialize in:

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

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

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new career in Cathedral City CA. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at a number of 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 deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options 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 their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Why Train to Become an Interior Designer?

Cathedral City 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.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs

After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Cathedral City CA residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Cathedral City California employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College 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) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Cathedral City CA program you select should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a substantial network of Cathedral City CA business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Cathedral City CA schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they offer. Many of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Cathedral City CA colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Cathedral City home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Cathedral City CA, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Design School near Cathedral City California

interior designed kitchen in Cathedral City CaliforniaChoosing the ideal interior designer program is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter 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, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Cathedral City California.