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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Coachella CA

How to Choose the Right Interior Design College

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Coachella CA, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But just where do you begin? A number of future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in 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 offered.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Coachella CA

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between them is the amount of education 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 numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Coachella 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 the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Coachella California interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new career in Coachella CA. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated 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 choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at a number of California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who desire 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 adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Why Become an Interior Designer?

Coachella 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.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

When you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Coachella CA residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently select 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 enroll in 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). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Coachella California employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Coachella CA program you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate instruction 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 College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Coachella CA business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Coachella CA schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they offer. Many of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Coachella CA colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Coachella home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Coachella CA, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Designer College near Coachella California

interior designed kitchen in Coachella CaliforniaPicking the right interior designer school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Coachella California.