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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Cerritos CA

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Degree Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Cerritos CA, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? Some future students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Cerritos CA

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The principal difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business 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 living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate 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 basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly 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 may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Cerritos California interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new career in Cerritos CA. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain 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 a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary 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 mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Designer Online Classes

Cerritos CA student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to study in the comfort of their Cerritos CA homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Cerritos CA home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial assistance 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 schools for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of 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 school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Cerritos CA college you select should also furnish the appropriate education 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a large network of Cerritos CA business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Cerritos CA colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Cerritos CA schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Cerritos home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially 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, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer School near Cerritos California

interior designed kitchen in Cerritos CaliforniaSelecting the ideal interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several things to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Cerritos California.