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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Cerritos CA

How to Choose the Best Interior Designer Course

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Cerritos CA, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you start? Many potential students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Cerritos CA

Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The main difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Cerritos CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

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

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training required to start your new profession in Cerritos CA. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at many California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for 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 deal with the technical and creative facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential 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 achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

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

Why 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.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs

When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Cerritos CA home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design school and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Cerritos California employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get 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 calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Cerritos CA college you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a substantial 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 colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper 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 large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Cerritos CA schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Cerritos home, go to the campus and attend a few 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 experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to 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 enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design School near Cerritos California

interior designed kitchen in Cerritos CaliforniaPicking the right interior design program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several things to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Cerritos California.