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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Cerritos CA

How to Select the Right Interior Designer Degree Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Cerritos CA, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But just where do you start? A number of potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues and other important 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 class options are offered.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Cerritos CA

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The primary difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Cerritos CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally focus predominantly 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 may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

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

Interior Design Degree Options

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new profession in Cerritos CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Why Study to Become 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.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs

After you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Cerritos CA residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. 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 rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the degree program and the college 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 training are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial aid 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 positions.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Cerritos CA program you choose should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance 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 regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a large network of Cerritos CA business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Cerritos CA colleges you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Cerritos CA colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Cerritos home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Cerritos CA, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program near Cerritos California

interior designed kitchen in Cerritos CaliforniaChoosing the right interior designer college is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Cerritos California.