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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Cerritos CA

How to Pick the Best Interior Design Degree Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Cerritos CA, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final selection. But where do you start? Many future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in 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 available.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Cerritos CA

Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The main difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Cerritos CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. 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 can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Cerritos California interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new career in Cerritos CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated 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 accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

What to Ask Interior Design Programs

Cerritos California interior designer bathroomAfter you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Cerritos CA home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and school that you choose 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Cerritos California employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Cerritos CA program you enroll in should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a significant network of Cerritos CA business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Cerritos CA schools you are looking at and ask what kind of support they provide. Many of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Cerritos CA colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Cerritos home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design college you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Cerritos CA, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Choose the Best Interior Design College near Cerritos California

interior designed kitchen in Cerritos CaliforniaChoosing the ideal interior design school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several things to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Cerritos California.