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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Claremont CA

How to Choose the Best Interior Designer Course

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Claremont CA, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? Many future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover 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 Claremont CA

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The primary distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Claremont CA can specialize in:

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

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Claremont California interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new career in Claremont CA. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

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

Why Train to Become 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.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

After you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Claremont CA residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Claremont California employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Claremont CA school you choose should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a significant network of Claremont CA business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Claremont CA schools you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Claremont CA colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Claremont home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly 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 working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. 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 Claremont California

interior designed kitchen in Claremont CaliforniaSelecting the right interior designer program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Claremont California.