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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Chula Vista CA

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Course

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 get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But exactly where do you start? A number of prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Chula Vista CA

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The primary difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Chula Vista CA may specialize in:

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

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

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new career in Chula Vista CA. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at many California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives 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. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Online Interior Designer Schools

Chula Vista CA student attending interior design school onlineFor anyone wishing to attend classes in the convenience of their Chula Vista CA homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes 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 accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting 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 minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you choose 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 education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Chula Vista CA residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions 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 appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer school and program that you select has earned accreditation from 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). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Chula Vista California employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Chula Vista CA program you enroll in should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Chula Vista CA business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Chula Vista CA schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Chula Vista CA schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Chula Vista home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Chula Vista CA, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Right Interior Design Program near Chula Vista California

interior designed kitchen in Chula Vista CaliforniaSelecting the right interior designer school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chula Vista California.