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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Chatsworth CA

How to Pick the Best Interior Designer Course

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Chatsworth 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 get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are considering before you make your final choice. But just where do you begin? Many prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications 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 reviewing 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 available.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Chatsworth CA

Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The main difference between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Chatsworth CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Chatsworth California interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new career in Chatsworth CA. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at many California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business required 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 two year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized 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. 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 usually completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Designer Online Classes

Chatsworth CA student attending interior design school onlineFor anyone wishing to attend classes in the convenience of their Chatsworth CA homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you choose 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 confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools

Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Chatsworth CA home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field 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 make sure that both the college and the degree program 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 education are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Chatsworth California employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Chatsworth CA school you select should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill 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 obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Chatsworth CA business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Chatsworth CA colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller 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. Ask the Chatsworth CA schools you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Chatsworth home, visit the school and attend a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Chatsworth CA, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Designer College near Chatsworth California

interior designed kitchen in Chatsworth CaliforniaSelecting the ideal interior design school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chatsworth California.