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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Clovis CA

How to Select the Right Interior Design College

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Clovis 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 interiors, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate 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 preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? Many potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Clovis CA

Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Clovis CA may specialize in:

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

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Clovis California interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to start your new profession in Clovis CA. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree 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 attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional 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 needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Why Study to Become 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.

What to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Clovis CA residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 training are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Clovis California employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Clovis CA program you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Clovis 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 departments for the Clovis CA colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Clovis CA colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Clovis home, visit the college and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Clovis CA, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Design College near Clovis California

interior designed kitchen in Clovis CaliforniaChoosing the ideal interior designer school is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate 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 an advanced education, there are a number of things to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Clovis California.