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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Cathedral City CA

How to Find the Right Interior Design School

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Cathedral City CA, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you receive the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But just where do you begin? Many potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Cathedral City CA

Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The main difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Cathedral City CA can specialize in:

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

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Cathedral City California interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new profession in Cathedral City CA. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated 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 short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position 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 alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

What to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Cathedral City California interior designer bathroomWhen you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Cathedral City CA residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish 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 available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Cathedral City California employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Cathedral City CA college you select should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a significant network of Cathedral City CA business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Cathedral City CA colleges you are looking at and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Cathedral City CA schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Cathedral City home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Cathedral City CA, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Right Interior Design College near Cathedral City California

interior designed kitchen in Cathedral City CaliforniaSelecting the right interior designer program is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several things to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still essential that you complete 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 schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Cathedral City California.