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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Claremont CA

How to Pick the Right Interior Design School

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Claremont CA, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you start? Many prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.

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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 principal difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates 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 living areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two 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 essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Claremont California interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new profession in Claremont CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions 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 business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential 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 acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Online Interior Designer Classes

Claremont CA student attending interior design school onlineFor anyone wishing to attend classes in the convenience of their Claremont CA homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Colleges

When you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Claremont CA residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School 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 agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Claremont California employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready 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 as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Claremont CA school you choose should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support 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 high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a significant network of Claremont CA business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Claremont CA schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Claremont CA schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Claremont home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Claremont CA, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Design Program near Claremont California

interior designed kitchen in Claremont CaliforniaChoosing the right interior designer college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Claremont California.