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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Chatsworth CA

How to Select the Right Interior Design Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Chatsworth CA, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you start? Some potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will discuss those topics and other vital 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 alternatives are available.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Chatsworth CA

Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The primary difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Chatsworth CA can specialize in:

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

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to 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, Chatsworth California interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new career in Chatsworth CA. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Chatsworth California interior designer bathroomAfter you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Chatsworth CA home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Chatsworth California employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the College Ready 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) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Chatsworth CA college you enroll in should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, 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 regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a large network of Chatsworth CA business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Chatsworth CA colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big 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 attention from the teachers. Find out from the Chatsworth CA colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Chatsworth home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak 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 Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Chatsworth CA, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design College near Chatsworth California

interior designed kitchen in Chatsworth CaliforniaPicking the ideal interior designer school is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chatsworth California.