How to Choose the Right Interior Designer College near Palos Verdes Peninsula California
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Palos Verdes Peninsula 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 appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it’s crucial that you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? Many potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will address those issues and other important 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 training alternatives are available.
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Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key difference between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Palos Verdes Peninsula CA can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Palos Verdes Peninsula CA interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training required to launch your new career in Palos Verdes Peninsula CA. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide 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 mandated in several states. More will be addressed 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 required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at many California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically 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 deal with the technical and creative facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five 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 some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Palos Verdes Peninsula CA homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a respected 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 online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Palos Verdes Peninsula CA residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It’s essential to make sure that the interior design program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Palos Verdes Peninsula CA employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Palos Verdes Peninsula CA college you choose should also provide the appropriate instruction 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 School’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 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 college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Palos Verdes Peninsula CA business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Palos Verdes Peninsula CA colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Palos Verdes Peninsula CA programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Palos Verdes Peninsula home, go to the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Palos Verdes Peninsula CA, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Interior Design Online Programs Palos Verdes Peninsula CA
Picking the right interior design program is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many things to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. You originally came upon this website because you had an interest in Interior Design Online Programs and wanted more info on the topic Interior Design Education Needed. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented 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 desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Palos Verdes Peninsula CA.
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Palos Verdes Peninsula
The Palos Verdes Peninsula (from Spanish Palos Verdes "Green sticks") is a landform and a geographic sub-region of the Los Angeles metropolitan area, within southwestern Los Angeles County in the U.S. state of California. Located in the South Bay region, the peninsula contains a group of affluent cities in the Palos Verdes Hills, including Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes, Rolling Hills and Rolling Hills Estates. The South Bay city of Torrance borders the peninsula on the north, the Pacific Ocean is on the west and south, and the Port of Los Angeles is east. The population of the Palos Verdes Peninsula is 42,364.
The peninsula was the homeland of the Tongva-Gabrieliño Native Americans people for thousands of years. In other areas of the Los Angeles Basin archeological sites date back 8,000 years. Their first contact with Europeans occurred in 1542 with João Cabrilho (Juan Cabrillo). Chowigna and Suangna were two Tongva settlements of many in the peninsula area, which was also a departure point for their rancherías on the Channel Islands.
In 1846 José Dolores Sepúlveda and José Loreto received a Mexican land grant from Alta California Governor Pío Pico for a parcel from the huge original 1784 Spanish land grant of Rancho San Pedro to Manuel Dominguez. It was named Rancho de los Palos Verdes, or "ranch of the green sticks", which was used primarily as a cattle ranch. It was also a whaling station in the mid-19th century, albeit only for a brief period.
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