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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Colton CA

How to Select the Best Interior Design Degree Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Colton CA, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you start? A number of future students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will address those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Colton CA

Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The principal distinction between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Colton CA may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They 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 integrating Feng shui concepts, Colton California interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new profession in Colton CA. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

What to Ask Interior Design Programs

Colton California interior designer bathroomNow that you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Colton CA home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 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, many Colton California employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require 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 school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Colton CA program you choose should also provide the proper training 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 College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want 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 high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a substantial network of Colton CA business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

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

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Colton CA programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Colton home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Colton CA, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design School near Colton California

interior designed kitchen in Colton CaliforniaPicking the ideal interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are many factors to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Colton California.