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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Coachella CA

How to Find the Right Interior Designer Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Coachella CA, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you do the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But just where do you begin? Many potential students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 class alternatives are available.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Coachella CA

Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The principal difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working 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 educated to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Coachella CA may specialize in:

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

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Coachella California interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new profession in Coachella CA. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at many California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Interior Designer Online Degree Programs

Coachella CA student attending interior design school onlineFor students who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Coachella CA homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools 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 setting, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

When you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Coachella CA residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional 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 gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Coachella California employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Coachella CA college you choose should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Coachella CA business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Coachella CA schools you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Coachella CA programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Coachella home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your active 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 Coachella CA, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Design School near Coachella California

interior designed kitchen in Coachella CaliforniaChoosing the ideal interior design school is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Coachella California.