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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Cerritos CA

How to Select the Right Interior Design Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Cerritos CA, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But just where do you begin? A number of potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues 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 cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Cerritos CA

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The primary distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Cerritos CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas 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, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Cerritos California interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new profession in Cerritos CA. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals 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 sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take 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 short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment 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 components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Why Do You Want to Be an Interior Designer?

Cerritos CA student attending interior design school onlineThere are many options available to you once you graduate and enter the field of interior design.  If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit you may become self-employed and open your own interior design shop. You might also work for a small or larger design firm. Designers have careers creating interiors for businesses, hospitals, government buildings, as well as private residences. Rarely is a design career a 9 to 5 job. You’ll need to be flexible, patient, and persistent to get your career off the ground. But you will have the opportunity to earn an attractive income as well as the personal satisfaction of creating beautiful living and working spaces.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools

When you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Cerritos CA home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Cerritos California employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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 program. And in several of those States mandating 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 provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a large network of Cerritos CA business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Cerritos CA colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Cerritos CA schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Cerritos home, go to the campus and sit in on 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 credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Cerritos CA, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer Program near Cerritos California

interior designed kitchen in Cerritos CaliforniaChoosing the ideal interior designer college is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still imperative that you conduct 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 programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Cerritos California.