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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Cathedral City CA

How to Pick the Right Interior Design Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program 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 imperative that you obtain the appropriate 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 preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you do the proper research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But just where do you start? Some future students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Cathedral City CA

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The key distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Cathedral City CA can specialize in:

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

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Cathedral City California interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new profession in Cathedral City CA. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at numerous 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 furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

What to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Cathedral City California interior designer bathroomAfter you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Cathedral City CA residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Cathedral City California employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become 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 college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Cathedral City CA school you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate education 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? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Cathedral City CA business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Cathedral City CA schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Cathedral City CA programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Cathedral City home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Cathedral City CA, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Choose the Best Interior Designer Program near Cathedral City California

interior designed kitchen in Cathedral City CaliforniaPicking the right interior design program is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several things to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Cathedral City California.