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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Clovis CA

How to Find the Right Interior Designer College

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Clovis CA, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But exactly where do you begin? Some prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will address those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Clovis CA

Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The key difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education 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 living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Clovis CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Clovis California interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new career in Clovis CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at a number of California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty 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 degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Clovis California interior designer bathroomAfter you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Clovis CA home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you choose 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. 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 exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Clovis California employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Clovis CA school you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet 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 earned your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a large network of Clovis CA business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Clovis CA colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Clovis CA schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Clovis home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Clovis CA, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Best Interior Design School near Clovis California

interior designed kitchen in Clovis CaliforniaChoosing the ideal interior designer program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are many factors to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate 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 Clovis California.