How to Select the Best Interior Design College near Petaluma California
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Petaluma CA, it’s time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s imperative that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of 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 crucial that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of potential students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.
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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Petaluma CA may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently 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, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Petaluma CA interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new career in Petaluma CA. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose 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 covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of “Interior Designer”, many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Classes
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Petaluma CA homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole 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 as well. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
When you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Petaluma CA residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It’s imperative to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just confirm 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Petaluma CA employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some 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 mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So besides providing an excellent education, the Petaluma CA school you choose should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be working.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Petaluma CA business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Petaluma CA colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Petaluma CA schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Petaluma home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask 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? Last, verify that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Petaluma CA, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Interior Design Accredited Schools Petaluma CA
Selecting the ideal interior design program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. You originally came upon this website because you had an interest in Interior Design Accredited Schools and wanted more info on the topic What Education Is Needed To Become An Interior Designer. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Petaluma CA.
Other California Designer Locations
Petaluma /pɛtəˈluːmə/ is a city in Sonoma County, in California's Wine Country, part of the North Bay sub-region of the San Francisco Bay Area, located 37 mi (60 km) north of San Francisco. Its population was 57,941 according to the 2010 Census.
The Rancho Petaluma Adobe, located in Petaluma, is a National Historic Landmark. Its construction started in 1836 by order of General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, then Commandant of the San Francisco Presidio. It was the center of a 66,000 acre (270-km²) ranch stretching from Petaluma River to Sonoma Creek. The adobe is considered one of the best preserved buildings of its era in Northern California.
The Coast Miwok resided in southern Sonoma County, and Péta Lúuma was originally the name of a Miwok village east of the Petaluma River. A number of other Coast Miwok villages were also located in and around what is now Petaluma; Wotoki, immediately to the south of the village of Petaluma, on the opposite side of the river, Etem, Likatiut, and Tuchayalin, near downtown Petaluma, and Tulme and Susuli, just north of what are now the city limits of Petaluma.
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