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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Chico CA

How to Find the Right Interior Designer Course

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Chico 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 spaces, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate 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 crucial that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? Some future students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 Chico CA

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The key difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Chico CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially 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 dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Chico California interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new career in Chico CA. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Why Train to Become an Interior Designer?

Chico 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.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

When you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Chico CA residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. 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 gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just make sure 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Chico California employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Chico CA college you enroll in should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. 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 college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Chico CA business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Chico CA colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Chico CA programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Chico home, visit the campus and sit in on 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 approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Chico CA, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Best Interior Designer Program near Chico California

interior designed kitchen in Chico CaliforniaChoosing the right interior design college is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However 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 evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chico California.