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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Chatsworth CA

How to Select the Right Interior Design College

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Chatsworth CA, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? Some prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 class options are available.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Chatsworth CA

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The key distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working 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 taught to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Chatsworth CA may 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, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For 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 main concern.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Chatsworth California interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new career in Chatsworth CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at many California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Why Study to 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.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs

Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Chatsworth CA residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Chatsworth California employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Chatsworth CA program you select should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need 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 a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of Chatsworth CA business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Chatsworth CA colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of support they provide. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Chatsworth CA colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Chatsworth home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Chatsworth CA, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design School near Chatsworth California

interior designed kitchen in Chatsworth CaliforniaPicking the ideal interior design school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are several points to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chatsworth California.