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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Cathedral City CA

How to Find the Best Interior Design Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Cathedral City CA, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? Some prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration as well. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask 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 training alternatives are available.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Cathedral City CA

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The main distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education 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 spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Cathedral City CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main 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 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 integrating Feng shui principles, Cathedral City California interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new profession in Cathedral City CA. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits 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 required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at numerous California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate 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 acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance 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 university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional 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 needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Why Do You Want to Be 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.

What to Ask Interior Design Colleges

When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Cathedral City CA home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify 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 training are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Cathedral City California employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require 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 calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Cathedral City CA school you enroll in should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Cathedral City CA business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Cathedral City CA schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Cathedral City CA schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Cathedral City home, go to the school 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 experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Cathedral City CA, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Designer College near Cathedral City California

interior designed kitchen in Cathedral City CaliforniaPicking the ideal interior designer program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many factors to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Cathedral City California.