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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Cathedral City CA

How to Pick the Right Interior Design Degree Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Cathedral City CA, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? A number of prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Cathedral City CA

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. 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 requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Cathedral City CA may specialize in:

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

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Cathedral City California interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new career 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 to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to choose 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 covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business 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 furnish advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Colleges

Cathedral City CA student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Cathedral City CA homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Cathedral City CA residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. 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 undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. 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 training are excellent, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Cathedral City California employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require 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, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an excellent education, the Cathedral City CA college you choose should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support 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 higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Cathedral City CA business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

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

How Small 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 attention from the teachers. Find out from 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 attend a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend 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 enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Design Program near Cathedral City California

interior designed kitchen in Cathedral City CaliforniaChoosing the ideal interior design school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still imperative that you perform 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 programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Cathedral City California.