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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Claremont CA

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Designer Degree Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Claremont CA, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? A number of future students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Claremont CA

Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The principal distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, 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 taught to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Claremont CA may specialize in:

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

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

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new career in Claremont CA. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose 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 accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at many California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential 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 acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Designer Online Classes

Claremont CA student attending interior design school onlineFor anyone wishing to attend classes in the convenience of their Claremont CA homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient 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 reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. 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.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Claremont CA home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded 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 evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Claremont California employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Claremont CA college you select should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a significant network of Claremont CA business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Claremont CA colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help 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 college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Claremont CA programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Claremont home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Claremont CA, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design Program near Claremont California

interior designed kitchen in Claremont CaliforniaPicking the right interior design program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many factors to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Claremont California.