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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Chatsworth CA

How to Select the Right Interior Designer Degree Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Chatsworth CA, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you begin? A number of future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration also. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask 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 class options are offered.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Chatsworth CA

Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The principal distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone 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 a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Chatsworth CA may specialize in:

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

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

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new career in Chatsworth CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at many California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely 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 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Why Become an Interior Designer?

Chatsworth 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.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs

After you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Chatsworth CA residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Chatsworth California employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Chatsworth CA college you enroll in should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a large network of Chatsworth CA business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Chatsworth CA schools you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they provide. Many of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Chatsworth CA schools you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Chatsworth home, visit the campus and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Chatsworth CA, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design School near Chatsworth California

interior designed kitchen in Chatsworth CaliforniaSelecting the ideal interior design program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chatsworth California.