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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Cerritos CA

How to Select the Best Interior Designer Degree Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Cerritos CA, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? Many future students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Cerritos CA

Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The primary difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Cerritos CA can specialize in:

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

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Cerritos California interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new career in Cerritos CA. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student 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 attaining 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. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

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 some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs

Cerritos California interior designer bathroomWhen you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Cerritos CA home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask 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 Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Cerritos California employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the School 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Cerritos CA program you choose should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Cerritos CA business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Cerritos CA schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Cerritos CA schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Cerritos home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Cerritos CA, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Best Interior Design College near Cerritos California

interior designed kitchen in Cerritos CaliforniaSelecting the ideal interior designer program is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many factors to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Cerritos California.