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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Chico CA

How to Choose the Right Interior Design Degree Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer 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 commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could 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 program that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But just where do you start? Many prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, 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 and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Chico CA

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The main distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Chico CA can specialize in:

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

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

Interior Design Training Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new career in Chico CA. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly 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 deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Why Do You Want to Be 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.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs

When you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Chico CA residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider also, including 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 in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation 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 organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Chico California employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Chico CA college you choose 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 School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a large network of Chico CA business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Chico CA colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of support they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Chico CA schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Chico home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few 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? Finally, make sure that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Chico CA, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer Program near Chico California

interior designed kitchen in Chico CaliforniaChoosing the ideal interior designer college is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chico California.