Home >> California >> Cathedral City >> Interior Design Programs


Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Cathedral City CA

How to Choose the Best Interior Design Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Cathedral City CA, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But just where do you start? Many future students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing 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.

Start Your Interior Design Career By Requesting Free Info on Local Schools Below

Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Cathedral City CA

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

  • Residential Designing. 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 may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly 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 banks and hospitals might focus 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, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Cathedral City California interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new profession in Cathedral City CA. Your decision 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 decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain 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 provide options in specialty 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. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually 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 degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Why Study 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.

What to Ask Interior Design Schools

When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Cathedral City CA residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design school and program that you enroll in 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Cathedral City California employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become 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 college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Cathedral City CA college you select should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a substantial network of Cathedral City CA business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Cathedral City CA schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal 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 typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Cathedral City home, visit the college and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Cathedral City CA, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer Program near Cathedral City California

interior designed kitchen in Cathedral City CaliforniaChoosing the right interior design college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many things to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate 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 achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Cathedral City California.