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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Coachella CA

How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Degree Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Coachella CA, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But just where do you begin? Many potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask 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 options are available.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Coachella CA

Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Coachella CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often 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 may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate 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 might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

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

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training required to start your new profession in Coachella CA. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at many California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate 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.

What to Ask Interior Design Programs

After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Coachella CA home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field 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 instructors. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might 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 colleges for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get 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 program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Coachella CA program you choose should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam 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 undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of Coachella CA business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Coachella CA colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Coachella CA schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Coachella home, visit the campus 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 styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Coachella CA, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design Program near Coachella California

interior designed kitchen in Coachella CaliforniaPicking the right interior designer college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several factors to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college 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 rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Coachella California.