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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Ceres CA

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Designer Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Ceres CA, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But just where do you start? Many prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you must ask 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 class alternatives are available.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Ceres CA

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The key difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various 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 Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily 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 focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Ceres California interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new profession in Ceres CA. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below 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 approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Online Interior Designer Schools

Ceres CA student attending interior design school onlineFor students who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Ceres CA homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs

After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Ceres CA home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Ceres California employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get 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, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Ceres CA program you enroll in should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Ceres CA business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Ceres CA colleges you are looking at and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is essential 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 aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small 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 Ceres CA colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Ceres home, visit 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Ceres CA, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design College near Ceres California

interior designed kitchen in Ceres CaliforniaSelecting the right interior designer program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are many points to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Ceres California.