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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Chatsworth CA

How to Find the Best Interior Designer College

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college 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 spaces, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But just where do you start? A number of future students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 offered.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Chatsworth CA

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The main distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates 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 work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Chatsworth CA can specialize in:

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

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

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training required to begin your new profession in Chatsworth CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at many California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

In order 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 professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Online Interior Designer Classes

Chatsworth CA student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Chatsworth CA homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Chatsworth CA home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the least expensive 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 need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program 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 education are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Chatsworth California employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become 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 several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Chatsworth CA school you enroll in should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance 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 profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a large network of Chatsworth CA business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Chatsworth CA schools you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Chatsworth CA colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Chatsworth home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Chatsworth CA, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer College near Chatsworth California

interior designed kitchen in Chatsworth CaliforniaSelecting the right interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chatsworth California.