Home >> California >> Claremont >> Interior Design Schools


Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Claremont CA

How to Select the Best Interior Design Degree 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 selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But where do you start? Some prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in 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 Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Claremont CA

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The primary difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Claremont CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. 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 kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Claremont California interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new profession in Claremont CA. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at many California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain 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 provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

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

Interior Design Online Degree Programs

Claremont CA student attending interior design school onlineFor students who wish to study in the comfort of their Claremont CA homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs

Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Claremont CA home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by 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 gone through an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Claremont California employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get 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 school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Claremont CA school you choose should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a large network of Claremont CA business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Claremont CA schools you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior design schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Claremont CA colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Claremont home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Claremont CA, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Right Interior Design College near Claremont California

interior designed kitchen in Claremont CaliforniaChoosing the ideal interior design school is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college 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 selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several factors to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Claremont California.