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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Clovis CA

How to Choose the Right Interior Designer School

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Clovis CA, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But just where do you begin? Some potential 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 relevant variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, 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 compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Clovis CA

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between them is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Clovis 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 the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as 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 selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Clovis California interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to launch your new career in Clovis CA. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at a number of California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Interior Designer Online Classes

Clovis CA student attending interior design school onlineFor students who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Clovis CA homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, 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 distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools

Once you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Clovis CA home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm 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 available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Clovis California employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require 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 program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Clovis CA college you enroll in should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet 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 received your interior design certification, you will probably need 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 an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Clovis CA business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Clovis CA colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Clovis CA programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Clovis home, go to the school and attend a few classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Clovis CA, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Best Interior Design School near Clovis California

interior designed kitchen in Clovis CaliforniaChoosing the ideal interior design school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are several points to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify 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 suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Clovis California.