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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Chico CA

How to Choose the Right Interior Designer College

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school 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 proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But just where do you begin? Some future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Chico CA

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general 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 the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

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

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new career in Chico CA. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at many California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Chico California interior designer bathroomWhen you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Chico CA residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. 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 college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Chico California employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require 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 school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Chico CA program you enroll in should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Chico CA business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Chico CA schools you are reviewing and find out what type of support they provide. A number of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Chico CA schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Chico home, visit the college and attend 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 styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Chico CA, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol 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 CaliforniaPicking the ideal interior designer college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many things to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chico California.