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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Chula Vista CA

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design School

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Chula Vista CA, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But just where do you start? A number of prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration 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 class alternatives are available.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Chula Vista CA

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The primary difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone 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, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Chula Vista CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

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

Interior Designer Degrees

There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new profession in Chula Vista CA. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed 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 acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide 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 primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Degree Programs

Chula Vista CA student attending interior design school onlineFor students who wish to study in the comfort of their Chula Vista CA homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

When you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Chula Vista CA residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Chula Vista California employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Chula Vista CA program you select should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support 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 high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Chula Vista CA business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Chula Vista CA colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of support they offer. Many of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Chula Vista CA colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Chula Vista home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Chula Vista CA, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Design School near Chula Vista California

interior designed kitchen in Chula Vista CaliforniaChoosing the ideal interior design program is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chula Vista California.