How to Find the Right Interior Designer Program near Pittsburg California
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Pittsburg CA, it’s time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it’s imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it’s vital that you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? A number of potential students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in 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 alternatives are available.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Pittsburg CA may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Pittsburg CA interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new career in Pittsburg CA. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at many California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of “Interior Designer”, many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Pittsburg CA homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Pittsburg CA home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It’s necessary to verify that the interior designer program and college that you select 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify 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 education are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Pittsburg CA employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become 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 school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Pittsburg CA college you select should also furnish the proper instruction 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 School’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a significant network of Pittsburg CA business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Pittsburg CA schools you are looking at and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior design schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Pittsburg CA schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Pittsburg home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Pittsburg CA, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Interior Design Degree Programs Pittsburg CA
Choosing the ideal interior design program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of things to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check 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 Degree Programs and wanted more info on the topic Degree Needed To Be An Interior Designer. However it is still essential that you conduct 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 programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Pittsburg CA.
Other California Designer Locations
Pittsburg is a city in Contra Costa County, California, United States. It is an industrial suburb located on the southern shore of the Suisun Bay in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, and is part of the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta area. The population was 63,264 at the 2010 United States Census.
In 1849, Colonel Jonathan D. Stevenson (from New York) bought the Rancho Los Medanos land grant, and laid out a town he called New York of the Pacific. By 1850, this venture failed. With the discovery of coal in the nearby town of Nortonville, the place became a port for coaling, and adopted the name Black Diamond, after the mining firm that built the Black Diamond Coal Mining Railroad from there to Nortonville. Because of the industrial potential of the site, a name change to Pittsburg was proposed in 1909.
Pittsburg, originally settled in 1839, was called first "New York Landing", then "Black Diamond", before citizens voted on "Pittsburg" on February 11, 1911. The name was selected to honor Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as the two cities' shared a common steel and mining industrial heritage. This rechristening came at a time when the name of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was more commonly spelled without the "h".
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