How to Select the Best Interior Designer College near Mountain View California
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Mountain View CA, it’s time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it’s imperative that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s crucial that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in 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 offered.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Mountain View CA can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Mountain View CA interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training required to start your new career in Mountain View CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required 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 offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at a number of California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest 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 design training after attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees 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 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 schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Mountain View CA homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Mountain View CA home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing 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 consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It’s imperative to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by 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). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm 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 college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Mountain View CA employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require 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 requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Mountain View CA college you choose should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing 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 in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Mountain View CA business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Mountain View CA schools you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Mountain View CA programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Mountain View home, go to the college and sit in on a few 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 Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Mountain View CA, confirm 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, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Best Undergraduate Interior Design Schools Mountain View CA
Choosing the right interior designer program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. You originally came upon this website because you had an interest in Best Undergraduate Interior Design Schools and wanted more info on the topic Interior Design Online Classes. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review 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 achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Mountain View CA.
Other California Designer Locations
Mountain View, California
Mountain View is a city located in Santa Clara County, California, United States, named for its views of the Santa Cruz Mountains. From its origins as a stagecoach stop, it grew to a large suburb with a pedestrian-friendly downtown and a population of 74,066. The city borders Palo Alto and the San Francisco Bay to the north, Los Altos to the south, and Moffett Federal Airfield and Sunnyvale to the east.
Situated in the southern end of the peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area, in the northwest corner of Santa Clara county, Mountain View is home to many high technology companies. In 1956, Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory, the first company to develop silicon semiconductor devices in what came to be known as Silicon Valley, was established in the city by William Shockley. Today, many of the largest technology companies in the world are headquartered in the city, including Google, Mozilla Foundation, Symantec, and Intuit. The original Byte Shop computer store was opened at 1063 El Camino Real, Mountain View, by Paul Terrell, and the first 50 Apple I computers were sold from that location. The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority integrates the city with the neighboring cities of Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Sunnyvale.
The Mexican land grant of Rancho Pastoria de las Borregas was given in 1842 by Alta California Governor Juan Alvarado to Francisco Estrada. This grant was later passed on to Mariano Castro, who sold half of the land to Martin Murphy, Jr. Eventually, the former land grant became the cities of Mountain View and Sunnyvale.
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