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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Chino Hills CA

How to Choose the Best Interior Design College

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Chino Hills CA, it's time to begin 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 receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But where do you start? Some future students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Chino Hills CA

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The main difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education 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 residential areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Chino Hills CA may 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, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Chino Hills California interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new profession in Chino Hills CA. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following 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 field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at many California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Online Interior Design Classes

Chino Hills CA student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to study in the comfort of their Chino Hills CA homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools

When you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Chino Hills CA residence. Obviously 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 cost of tuition will limit your options also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer school and program that you select 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance 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 College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate 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 school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Chino Hills CA college you enroll in should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements 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 schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Chino Hills CA business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Chino Hills CA schools you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Chino Hills CA schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Chino Hills home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Chino Hills CA, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design College near Chino Hills California

interior designed kitchen in Chino Hills CaliforniaSelecting the ideal interior design program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess 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.