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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Chino Hills CA

How to Pick the Best Interior Designer School

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Chino Hills CA, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But just where do you start? Some prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other important 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 training alternatives are available.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Chino Hills CA

Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The primary difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Chino Hills CA can specialize in:

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

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

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new profession in Chino Hills CA. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some 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. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at many California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives 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 their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Why Become an Interior Designer?

Chino Hills 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.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Chino Hills CA residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important 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 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 organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Chino Hills California employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of 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 several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Chino Hills CA program you choose should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Chino Hills CA business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Chino Hills CA schools you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Chino Hills CA programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Chino Hills home, go to the school and attend a few classes. While there speak with some 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Chino Hills CA, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design School near Chino Hills California

interior designed kitchen in Chino Hills CaliforniaSelecting the right interior designer college is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chino Hills California.