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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Citrus Heights CA

How to Choose the Best Interior Design Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Citrus Heights CA, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you start? Many future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 offered.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Citrus Heights CA

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Citrus Heights 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 can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may 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, for example 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 picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Citrus Heights California interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new career in Citrus Heights CA. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools

Citrus Heights California interior designer bathroomAfter you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Citrus Heights CA residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Citrus Heights California employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get 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 requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Citrus Heights CA college you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with 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 attained your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Citrus Heights CA business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Citrus Heights CA colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Citrus Heights CA colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Citrus Heights home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Citrus Heights CA, make certain that those classes are offered. 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 because of work, family or illness.

Choose the Best Interior Designer Program near Citrus Heights California

interior designed kitchen in Citrus Heights CaliforniaSelecting the ideal interior design school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are several things to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Citrus Heights California.