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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Chico CA

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Degree Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Chico CA, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you get the appropriate 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 could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But just where do you start? Many future students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Chico CA

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The key distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Chico CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of 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 concern.

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

Interior Design Training Programs

There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new profession in Chico CA. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly 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 technical and creative components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential 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 the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally 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 a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Online Interior Designer Classes

Chico CA student attending interior design school onlineFor students who wish to study in the comfort of their Chico CA homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Chico CA home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment 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 agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Chico California employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate 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 work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Chico CA school you choose should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a large network of Chico CA business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Chico CA colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors 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 probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Chico CA colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Chico home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Chico CA, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Design College near Chico California

interior designed kitchen in Chico CaliforniaChoosing the right interior design college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chico California.