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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Citrus Heights CA

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design School

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Citrus Heights CA, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? A number of potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account 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 before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Citrus Heights CA

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The main difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates 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 taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Citrus Heights 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, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Citrus Heights California interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new profession in Citrus Heights CA. Your selection will no doubt be motivated 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 decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

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

Interior Design Online Schools

Citrus Heights CA student attending interior design school onlineFor students who wish to study in the convenience of their Citrus Heights CA homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges

When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Citrus Heights CA residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able 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 most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design school and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field 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 teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Citrus Heights California employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs 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 necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Citrus Heights CA school you enroll in should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Citrus Heights CA business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Citrus Heights CA schools you are looking at and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Citrus Heights CA programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Citrus Heights home, visit the college and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Citrus Heights CA, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Right Interior Designer Program near Citrus Heights California

interior designed kitchen in Citrus Heights CaliforniaPicking the right interior design program is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many things to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Citrus Heights California.