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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Chino Hills CA

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design College

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Chino Hills CA, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you start? Some potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Chino Hills CA

Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The primary difference 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 skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and 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 broad areas that an interior designer in Chino Hills CA may specialize in:

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

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Chino Hills California interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new career in Chino Hills CA. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed 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 brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Chino Hills California interior designer bathroomOnce you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Chino Hills CA residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design school and program that you enroll in 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Chino Hills California employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Chino Hills CA college you choose should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance 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 held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Chino Hills CA business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Chino Hills CA schools you are looking at and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Chino Hills CA programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Chino Hills home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and find out 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 Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Chino Hills CA, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Best Interior Design School near Chino Hills California

interior designed kitchen in Chino Hills CaliforniaChoosing the right interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many factors to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chino Hills California.