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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Chula Vista CA

How to Pick the Right Interior Design Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Chula Vista 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 essential that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But exactly where do you begin? Some future students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Chula Vista CA

Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The main difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Chula Vista CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Chula Vista California interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new profession in Chula Vista CA. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated 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 brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives 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. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Why Train to Become an Interior Designer?

Chula Vista 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

When you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Chula Vista CA home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you choose 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Chula Vista California employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become 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 school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Chula Vista CA program you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Chula Vista CA business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Chula Vista CA colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Chula Vista CA programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Chula Vista home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Chula Vista CA, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Choose the Best Interior Design Program near Chula Vista California

interior designed kitchen in Chula Vista CaliforniaSelecting the right interior design program is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chula Vista California.