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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Chino Hills CA

How to Choose the Right Interior Design Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Chino Hills CA, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But where do you start? Some prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. We will address those issues 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 cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Chino Hills CA

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The key distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Chino Hills CA may specialize in:

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

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Chino Hills California interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new profession in Chino Hills CA. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to invest in 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 brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered 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 four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade needed 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 provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options 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. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Online Interior Design Degree Programs

Chino Hills CA student attending interior design school onlineFor anyone wishing to study in the convenience of their Chino Hills CA homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Chino Hills CA home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design program and college that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Chino Hills California employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require 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 college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Chino Hills CA school you select should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering 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 esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a large network of Chino Hills CA business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

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

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Chino Hills CA schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Chino Hills home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Chino Hills CA, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Design Program near Chino Hills California

interior designed kitchen in Chino Hills CaliforniaPicking the right interior designer school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are several points to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chino Hills California.