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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Cerritos CA

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Cerritos CA, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? A number of prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will address those topics 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 options are offered.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Cerritos CA

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The primary distinction between the two 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. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Cerritos CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

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

Interior Design Training Programs

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training needed to begin your new career in Cerritos CA. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven 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 choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required 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 accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at a number of California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment 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 facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest 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 design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Cerritos California interior designer bathroomOnce you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Cerritos CA residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at also, such as 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 get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national 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 undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm 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 offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Cerritos California employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Cerritos CA program you select should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with 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 attained your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a significant network of Cerritos CA business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Cerritos CA schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Cerritos CA schools you are considering what their average 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 talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Cerritos CA, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Best Interior Design School near Cerritos California

interior designed kitchen in Cerritos CaliforniaSelecting the ideal interior design program is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Cerritos California.