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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Chatsworth CA

How to Choose the Best Interior Design Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Chatsworth CA, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you do the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But where do you begin? Some future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Chatsworth CA

Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The primary distinction between them is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting 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 educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Chatsworth CA can specialize in:

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

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Chatsworth California interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new profession in Chatsworth CA. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered 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 four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade required 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 two year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Online Interior Design Colleges

Chatsworth CA student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Chatsworth CA homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools

Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Chatsworth CA home. Of course 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 fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. 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 applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Chatsworth California employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Chatsworth CA school you enroll in should also furnish the suitable 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 College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Chatsworth CA business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Chatsworth CA schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Chatsworth CA programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Chatsworth home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Chatsworth CA, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Choose the Best Interior Designer Program near Chatsworth California

interior designed kitchen in Chatsworth CaliforniaSelecting the right interior designer program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program 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 recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chatsworth California.