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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Clovis CA

How to Select the Best Interior Design Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Clovis CA, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents 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 do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But where do you start? Some potential students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching 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 offered.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Clovis CA

Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The primary difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Clovis CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Clovis California interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training needed to start your new career in Clovis CA. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Why Do You Want to Be an Interior Designer?

Clovis 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.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Clovis CA residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous 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 acknowledged 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 securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Clovis California employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the College 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Clovis CA school you select should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement 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 field and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a sizable network of Clovis CA business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Clovis CA colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Clovis CA colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Clovis home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with some 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 Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Clovis CA, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer College near Clovis California

interior designed kitchen in Clovis CaliforniaPicking the ideal interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several points to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Clovis California.