How to Pick the Right Interior Designer School near Santa Ana California
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Santa Ana CA, it’s time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s important that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s very important that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? Many prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key issues 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 important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, 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 Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone 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 formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Santa Ana CA may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Santa Ana CA interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to start your new career in Santa Ana CA. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous California community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business required 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 furnish advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For students who to study in the convenience of their Santa Ana CA homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain 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 confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Santa Ana CA residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It’s imperative to confirm that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program 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 education are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Santa Ana CA employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Santa Ana CA school you enroll in should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Santa Ana CA business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Santa Ana CA colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Santa Ana CA colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Santa Ana home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Santa Ana CA, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Interior Design Degree Courses Santa Ana CA
Choosing the right interior designer program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many factors to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure 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 Courses and wanted more info on the topic Interior Design Online Courses. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools 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 Santa Ana CA.
Other California Designer Locations
Santa Ana, California
Santa Ana /ˌsæntə ˈænə/ (Spanish for "Saint Anne") is the county seat and second most populous city in Orange County, California in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The United States Census Bureau estimated its 2011 population at 329,427, making Santa Ana the 57th most-populous city in the United States.
Santa Ana is in Southern California, adjacent to the Santa Ana River, about 10 miles (16 km) from the coast. Founded in 1869, the city is part of the Greater Los Angeles Area, the second largest metropolitan area in the United States, with almost 18 million residents in 2010. Santa Ana is a very densely populated city, ranking fourth nationally in that regard among cities of over 300,000 residents (trailing only New York City, San Francisco, and Boston). In 2011, Forbes ranked Santa Ana the fourth-safest city of over 250,000 residents in the United States.
Santa Ana lends its name to the Santa Ana Freeway (I-5), which runs through the city. It also shares its name with the nearby Santa Ana Mountains, and the Santa Ana winds, which have historically fueled seasonal wildfires throughout Southern California. The current Office of Management and Budget (OMB) metropolitan designation for the Orange County Area is Santa Ana–Anaheim–Irvine, California.
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