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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Citrus Heights CA

How to Pick the Right Interior Design Course

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Citrus Heights 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 interiors, it's important that you receive the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But just where do you begin? Some future students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask 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 offered.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Citrus Heights CA

Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The key distinction between them 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, conducting business 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 taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Citrus Heights CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently 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 concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

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

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are 4 degree options available 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 as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at many California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets 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 job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Why Do You Want to Be an Interior Designer?

Citrus Heights CA student attending interior design school onlineThere are many options available to you once you graduate and enter the field of interior design.  If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit you may become self-employed and open your own interior design shop. You might also work for a small or larger design firm. Designers have careers creating interiors for businesses, hospitals, government buildings, as well as private residences. Rarely is a design career a 9 to 5 job. You’ll need to be flexible, patient, and persistent to get your career off the ground. But you will have the opportunity to earn an attractive income as well as the personal satisfaction of creating beautiful living and working spaces.

What to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Citrus Heights CA residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous 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 organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Citrus Heights California employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the College 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) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Citrus Heights CA college you choose should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges 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 an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Citrus Heights CA business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Citrus Heights CA schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior design schools provide financial aid 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 enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Citrus Heights CA programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Citrus Heights home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out 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 Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Citrus Heights CA, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Designer School near Citrus Heights California

interior designed kitchen in Citrus Heights CaliforniaPicking the ideal interior design college is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are several factors to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Citrus Heights California.