How to Select the Right Interior Designer Program near Oakley California
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Oakley CA, it’s time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it’s essential that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it’s vital that you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final decision. But where do you start? Many prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Oakley CA may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Oakley CA interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new career in Oakley CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have 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 required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business needed 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 design training after attaining a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Classes
For anyone wishing’ to attend classes in the convenience of their Oakley CA homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs 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. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Oakley CA residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It’s imperative to verify that the interior design school and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Oakley CA employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Oakley CA school you choose should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet 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 earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance 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 regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Oakley CA business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Oakley CA schools you are evaluating and ask what type of support they provide. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Oakley CA schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Oakley 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 approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Oakley CA, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Interior Design College Oakley CA
Picking the ideal interior design school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several points to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. You originally came upon this website because you had an interest in Interior Design College and wanted more info on the topic College Interior Design. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Oakley CA.
Other California Designer Locations
Oakley is a city in Contra Costa County, California, United States. It is within the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. The January 1, 2016 population was 40,144, as determined by the State Department of Finance. Oakley was incorporated in 1999 and is the most recently incorporated city in Contra Costa County. Oakley is part of the East Contra Costa Bicycle Plan, which has existing facilities in Oakley as well as plans for further expansion.
The Oakley areas offers access to the Delta de Anza Regional Trail. According to reports provided by CNN, Oakley experiences 21.16 inches of annual rainfall with an average high temperature in July of 96.0 F and an average low temperature in January of 40.0 F. Oakley experiences 52% clear days throughout the year.
Oakley's west border is Highway 160, which provides access to Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, and the Central Valley. The City of Antioch adjoins Oakley on the west, the city of Brentwood adjoins Oakley on the south, and Bethel Island lies to the east. The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta forms the northern boundary. The southwestern skyline is dominated by Mt. Diablo.
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