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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Claremont CA

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Degree Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Claremont CA, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But where do you begin? A number of potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those topics and other vital 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 class options are offered.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Claremont CA

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

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

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

Interior Design Degrees

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new profession in Claremont CA. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt 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 some states. More will be discussed 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 education needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance 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 vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for 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.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs

Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Claremont CA residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Claremont California employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate 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 several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Claremont CA program you choose should also provide 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 College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Claremont CA business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Claremont CA colleges you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Claremont CA colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Claremont home, go to the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening 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 alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design School near Claremont California

interior designed kitchen in Claremont CaliforniaChoosing the right interior designer college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Claremont California.