Home >> California >> Claremont >> Interior Design Degrees


Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Claremont CA

How to Pick the Right Interior Design Course

Now that 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 spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you begin? Many potential students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.

Start Your Interior Design Career By Requesting Free Info on Local Schools Below

Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Claremont CA

Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The key difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training 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 living areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Claremont CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area 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 public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must 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 principles, Claremont California interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to start your new profession in Claremont CA. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

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, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Claremont California interior designer bathroomNow that you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Claremont CA residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when requesting 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 programs for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get 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, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Claremont CA college you enroll in should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Claremont CA business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Claremont CA colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Claremont CA colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Claremont home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. While there speak with a few 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Claremont CA, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Designer Program near Claremont California

interior designed kitchen in Claremont CaliforniaSelecting the right interior designer college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Claremont California.