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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Clovis CA

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Degree Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Clovis CA, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But just where do you start? A number of future students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will address those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

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. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Clovis CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often 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, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might 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, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Clovis California interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new career in Clovis CA. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Interior Designer Online Classes

Clovis CA student attending interior design school onlineFor students who wish to study in the comfort of their Clovis CA homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you choose 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 online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools

After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Clovis CA residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Clovis California employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require 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, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Clovis CA college you enroll in should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a large network of Clovis CA business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Clovis CA schools you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Clovis CA colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Clovis home, visit the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Clovis CA, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Right Interior Designer Program near Clovis California

interior designed kitchen in Clovis CaliforniaChoosing the ideal interior designer school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many things to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Clovis California.