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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Ceres CA

How to Select the Right Interior Design Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Ceres CA, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are considering before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you start? Some potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will discuss those topics and other vital 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 training alternatives are offered.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Ceres CA

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The principal difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, 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 taught to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Ceres CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Ceres California interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new profession in Ceres CA. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade required 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 two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such 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 primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Ceres California interior designer bathroomNow that you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Ceres CA residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Ceres California employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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 program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Ceres CA program you enroll in should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Ceres CA business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Ceres CA colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Ceres CA colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Ceres home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Ceres CA, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer College near Ceres California

interior designed kitchen in Ceres CaliforniaChoosing the ideal interior designer program is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several 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 esteemed in the business. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess 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 achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Ceres California.