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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Coachella CA

How to Select the Right Interior Designer School

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design 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 commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But where do you start? A number of prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Coachella CA

Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Coachella CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, 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 stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Coachella California interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new profession in Coachella CA. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at numerous California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects 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 two year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who wish 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.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Online Interior Design Classes

Coachella CA student attending interior design school onlineFor anyone wishing to study in the comfort of their Coachella CA homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, 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 acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

After you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school must be within driving distance from your Coachella CA home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Coachella California employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Coachella CA college you select should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing 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 highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a significant network of Coachella CA business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Coachella CA colleges you are looking at and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal 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 schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Coachella home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Coachella CA, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School near Coachella California

interior designed kitchen in Coachella CaliforniaChoosing the right interior design college is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still essential that you perform 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 schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Coachella California.