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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Chico CA

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Course

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Chico CA, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you begin? Many prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, 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

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The main difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Chico CA may specialize in:

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

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

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new profession in Chico CA. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at numerous California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options 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. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools

Chico California interior designer bathroomWhen you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Chico CA home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative 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 highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 training are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Chico California employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Chico CA program you select should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out 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 in demand. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Chico CA business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Chico CA colleges you are looking at and ask what type of support they provide. A number of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Chico CA schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Chico home, go to the school and attend a few classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Chico CA, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Design School near Chico California

interior designed kitchen in Chico CaliforniaChoosing the ideal interior design college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chico California.