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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Chula Vista CA

How to Choose the Best Interior Design Program

Now that 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 spaces, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final choice. But where do you start? A number of potential students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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

Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The main difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Chula Vista CA can specialize in:

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

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as 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 selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Chula Vista California interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new profession in Chula Vista CA. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose 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) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Degree Programs

Chula Vista CA student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to study in the comfort of their Chula Vista CA homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

After you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Chula Vista CA home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial aid 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 jobs.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an excellent education, the Chula Vista CA college you choose should also furnish the proper 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. 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 a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a large network of Chula Vista CA business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Chula Vista CA schools you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Chula Vista CA programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Chula Vista home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Chula Vista CA, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Designer College near Chula Vista California

interior designed kitchen in Chula Vista CaliforniaSelecting the ideal interior designer college is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chula Vista California.