How to Choose the Best Interior Designer School near Northridge California
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Northridge CA, it’s time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it’s essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it’s essential that you do the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.
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Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Northridge CA can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Northridge CA interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training needed to begin your new career in Northridge CA. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of California trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover 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 obtain 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 specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish 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.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Northridge CA homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized 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 distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Northridge CA residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home 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 school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It’s essential to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional 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 programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Northridge CA employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an excellent education, the Northridge CA program you enroll in should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a significant network of Northridge CA business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Northridge CA colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Northridge CA programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Northridge home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Northridge CA, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
How To Become An Interior Designer Northridge CA
Picking the ideal interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. You originally came upon this website because you had an interest in How To Become An Interior Designer and wanted more info on the topic Universities For Interior Design. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Northridge CA.
Other California Designer Locations
Northridge, Los Angeles
Originally named Zelzah, the community was renamed North Los Angeles in 1929 to emphasize its closeness to the booming city. This created confusion with Los Angeles and North Hollywood. At the suggestion of a civic leader, the community was renamed Northridge in 1938. Northridge can trace its history back to the Gabrielino (or Tongva) people and to Spanish explorers. Its territory was later sold by the Mexican governor to Eulogio de Celis, whose heirs divided it for sale.
The 2000 U.S. census counted 57,561 residents in the 9.47-square-mile (24.5 km2) Northridge neighborhood—or 6,080 people per square mile (2,350/km2), among the lowest population densities for the city. In 2008, the city estimated that the population had increased to 61,993. In 2000 the median age for residents was 32, about average for city and county neighborhoods; the percentage of residents aged 19 to 34 was among the county's highest.
The neighborhood was considered "highly diverse" ethnically within Los Angeles, with a high percentage of Asian people. The breakdown was whites, 49.5%; Latinos, 26.1%; Asians, 14.5%; blacks, 5.4%; and others, 4.6%. Mexico (24.7%) and the Philippines (9.8%) were the most common places of birth for the 31.8% of the residents who were born abroad—an average figure for Los Angeles.
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