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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Claremont CA

How to Pick the Best Interior Designer College

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Claremont CA, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But just where do you begin? A number of future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Claremont CA

Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The key distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Claremont CA may specialize in:

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

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Claremont California interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new profession in Claremont CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide 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 required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Claremont California interior designer bathroomAfter you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Claremont CA residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. 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 to help you examine and ultimately choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design program and college that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. 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 gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Claremont California employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Claremont CA college you enroll in should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Claremont CA business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Claremont CA schools you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Claremont CA schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Claremont home, go to the campus and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Claremont CA, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Designer Program near Claremont California

interior designed kitchen in Claremont CaliforniaSelecting the right interior designer program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are many factors to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided 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 determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Claremont California.