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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Chico CA

How to Choose the Best 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 gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of potential students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 choices are offered.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Chico CA

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The principal distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires 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 educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Chico CA can specialize in:

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

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

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new profession in Chico CA. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at many California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

What to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Chico California interior designer bathroomNow that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Chico CA residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Chico California employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of 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 college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Chico CA college you select should also furnish the proper 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? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement 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 highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Chico CA business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Chico CA schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Chico CA colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Chico home, go to the school and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design school you select 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 attend classes at night or on weekends near Chico CA, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School near Chico California

interior designed kitchen in Chico CaliforniaPicking the right interior design school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chico California.