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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Coachella CA

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design College

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Coachella CA, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But just where do you begin? Many prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, 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 Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Coachella CA

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The main distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous 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 areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Coachella CA can specialize in:

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

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

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new career in Coachella CA. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at many California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of 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 exam.

Online Interior Design Degree Programs

Coachella CA student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Coachella CA homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools

Once you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Coachella CA residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. 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 securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available 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, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get 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 college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Coachella CA program you select should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Coachella CA business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Coachella CA schools you are looking at and ask what type of support they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Coachella CA colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Coachella home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with some 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend 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 alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Choose 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 gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many factors to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. 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 programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Coachella California.