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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Chatsworth CA

How to Find the Best Interior Designer School

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Chatsworth CA, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But just where do you begin? A number of future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching 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 choices are available.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Chatsworth CA

Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The principal difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person 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 formal training and in numerous 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 areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories 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 basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

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

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new career in Chatsworth CA. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer 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 wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

What to Ask Interior Design Programs

Chatsworth California interior designer bathroomAfter you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Chatsworth CA home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design school and program that you enroll in 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 a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Chatsworth California employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get 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 program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides providing an excellent education, the Chatsworth CA school you enroll in should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy 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 earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a significant network of Chatsworth CA business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Chatsworth CA colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Chatsworth CA colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Chatsworth home, visit the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Chatsworth CA, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Best Interior Design College near Chatsworth California

interior designed kitchen in Chatsworth CaliforniaChoosing the right interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chatsworth California.