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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Chino Hills CA

How to Choose the Best Interior Design Degree Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Chino Hills CA, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? Some future students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Chino Hills CA

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

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

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Chino Hills California interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new career in Chino Hills CA. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated 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. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices 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 the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Degree Programs

Chino Hills CA student attending interior design school onlineFor students who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Chino Hills CA homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Chino Hills CA residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Chino Hills California employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Chino Hills CA college you enroll in should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a significant network of Chino Hills CA business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Chino Hills CA colleges you are looking at and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Chino Hills CA schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Chino Hills home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Chino Hills CA, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Designer School near Chino Hills California

interior designed kitchen in Chino Hills CaliforniaPicking the ideal interior design program is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many points to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chino Hills California.