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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Claremont CA

How to Select the Best Interior Design Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Claremont CA, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you carry out the proper research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. But where do you begin? A number of future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in 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 offered.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Claremont CA

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The key distinction between them is the level of education required. Any person 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 requires formal training 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 areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Claremont CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate predominantly 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 hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

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

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new profession in Claremont CA. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive 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 credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Why Do You Want to Be an Interior Designer?

Claremont 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.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools

After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Claremont CA home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program 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 outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Claremont California employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prepare 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) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Claremont CA program you enroll in should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask 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 graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a large network of Claremont CA business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Claremont CA colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of support they provide. A number of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Claremont CA schools you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Claremont home, visit the college and sit in on a few classes. While there 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Claremont CA, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design School near Claremont California

interior designed kitchen in Claremont CaliforniaChoosing the right interior designer school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Claremont California.