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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Citrus Heights CA

How to Find the Right Interior Designer College

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Citrus Heights CA, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you do the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? Some potential students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask 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 choices are available.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Citrus Heights CA

Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Citrus Heights CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must 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, Citrus Heights California interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training required to start your new career in Citrus Heights CA. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at a number of California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

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

Interior Designer Online Degree Programs

Citrus Heights CA student attending interior design school onlineFor students who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Citrus Heights CA homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Schools

When you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Citrus Heights CA residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design program and school that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered 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 Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Citrus Heights CA program you choose should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a significant network of Citrus Heights CA business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Citrus Heights CA schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support 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 school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Citrus Heights CA programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Citrus Heights home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic 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 offered. 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 procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design Program near Citrus Heights California

interior designed kitchen in Citrus Heights CaliforniaChoosing the ideal interior design school is an important initial step toward starting 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 regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many factors to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Citrus Heights California.