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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Cerritos CA

How to Select the Right Interior Designer College

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Cerritos CA, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? Some potential students will launch 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 decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Cerritos CA

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The principal difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Cerritos CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas 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 many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Cerritos California interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new career in Cerritos CA. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to devote to 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) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five 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 several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Online Interior Designer Degree Programs

Cerritos CA student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Cerritos CA homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you pick is accredited by a highly regarded 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 learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Cerritos CA home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you select 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). Schools earning 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Cerritos California employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Cerritos CA program you select should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a substantial network of Cerritos CA business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Cerritos CA colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately 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 one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Cerritos CA programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Cerritos home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

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

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School near Cerritos California

interior designed kitchen in Cerritos CaliforniaChoosing the right interior designer college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. 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 evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Cerritos California.