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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Cathedral City CA

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design School

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Cathedral City CA, it's time to start the process of selecting 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 natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But just where do you start? Many potential students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account also. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Cathedral City CA

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

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

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Cathedral City California interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new profession in Cathedral City CA. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions 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 trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

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 field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Schools

Cathedral City CA student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Cathedral City CA homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

When you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Cathedral City CA home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. 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 a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when requesting 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 Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Cathedral City CA school you select should also furnish the appropriate training 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Cathedral City CA business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Cathedral City CA schools you are looking at and find out what type of support they provide. A number of interior design colleges provide 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 selecting 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 counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Cathedral City CA programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Cathedral City home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. While there 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially 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 available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Best Interior Design Program near Cathedral City California

interior designed kitchen in Cathedral City CaliforniaPicking the right interior design college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school 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 rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Cathedral City California.