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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Chico CA

How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Course

Once you have made a decision 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 talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you begin? Some potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in 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 alternatives are available.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Chico CA

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The principal difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education 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 functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Chico CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Chico California interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training required to start your new profession in Chico CA. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter 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 required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business needed 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 two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Chico California interior designer bathroomAfter you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Chico CA residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Chico California employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Chico CA college you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill 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 attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. 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 sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a large network of Chico CA business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Chico CA colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes 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 Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Chico CA schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Chico home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Chico CA, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design Program near Chico California

interior designed kitchen in Chico CaliforniaChoosing the right interior design school is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chico California.