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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Citrus Heights CA

How to Find the Right Interior Design College

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Citrus Heights CA, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But where do you start? Many potential students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives 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 distinction 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. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Citrus Heights CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate predominantly 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 stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Citrus Heights California interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new profession in Citrus Heights CA. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions 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 creative and technical facets of the business 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 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty 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 largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Designer Online Colleges

Citrus Heights CA student attending interior design school onlineFor anyone wishing to attend classes in the comfort of their Citrus Heights CA homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you select is accredited by a respected 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 dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Citrus Heights CA residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Citrus Heights California employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require 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 program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Citrus Heights CA program you choose should also furnish 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 working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Citrus Heights CA business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Citrus Heights CA colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Citrus Heights CA schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Citrus Heights home, visit the campus and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Citrus Heights CA, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer College near Citrus Heights California

interior designed kitchen in Citrus Heights CaliforniaSelecting the right interior designer college is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many things to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Citrus Heights California.