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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Chula Vista CA

How to Select the Best Interior Designer Degree Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Chula Vista CA, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are considering before you make your final choice. But just where do you begin? A number of prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Chula Vista CA

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The primary difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Chula Vista CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently 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 particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Chula Vista California interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new profession in Chula Vista CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business needed 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 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who want 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 adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Chula Vista California interior designer bathroomNow that you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Chula Vista CA home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm 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 offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Chula Vista California employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Chula Vista CA college you choose should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Chula Vista CA business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Chula Vista CA schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Chula Vista CA colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Chula Vista home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Chula Vista CA, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Design School near Chula Vista California

interior designed kitchen in Chula Vista CaliforniaChoosing the ideal interior design school is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still imperative 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 effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chula Vista California.