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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Coachella CA

How to Pick the Best Interior Design College

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Coachella CA, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, 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 may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But just where do you start? Some prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will address those issues and other crucial 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 class alternatives are available.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Coachella CA

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The primary difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires 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 living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Coachella CA can specialize in:

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

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Coachella California interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new profession in Coachella CA. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated 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 accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take 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.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs

When you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Coachella CA home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design school and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training 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 Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate 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 college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Coachella CA program you choose should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a significant network of Coachella CA business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Coachella CA colleges you are looking at and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Coachella CA programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Coachella home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will 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 available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Best Interior Designer Program near Coachella California

interior designed kitchen in Coachella CaliforniaChoosing the ideal interior design school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of things to think about 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 business. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Coachella California.