How to Pick an Interior Design Course near Westwood California
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Westwood CA, it’s time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s essential that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s very important that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But where do you begin? A number of potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will address those issues and other vital 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 training alternatives are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education 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 living spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Westwood CA can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Westwood CA interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new career in Westwood CA. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer choices in specialized 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 programs are mainly for those professionals who want 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 professionally and use the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For anyone wishing’ to study in the comfort of their Westwood CA homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges 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 confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Westwood CA home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It’s essential to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Westwood CA employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Westwood CA school you choose should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out 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 field and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Westwood CA business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Westwood CA schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Westwood CA programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Westwood home, visit the college and monitor 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 backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Westwood CA, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Westwood CA?
Westwood is a census-designated place (CDP) in Lassen County, California, United States. Westwood is located 20 miles (32 km) west-southwest of Susanville, at an elevation of 5,128 feet (1,563 m). The population was 1,647 at the 2010 census, down from 1,998 at the 2000 census. Westwood is the hometown of mythical logger Paul Bunyan.
Westwood was built by T. B. Walker to be the operations center for the Red River Lumber Company in 1913. The first post office opened the same year. The Red River Lumber Company is credited as being "the world's largest electrical sawmill of the times." Red River Lumber Company also operated one of the first electric railways in the state built in 1927. The mill was equipped with the most modern equipment for its time; and the surrounding territory was crisscrossed by forest railways bringing logs to the mill. The railway shop at Westwood was home to 2-8-0 #102 and 2-8-2 #104 when forest railway operations ceased in the early 1950s. The four woods engines scrapped in 1953 were 2-6-0 number 1, 2-6-2 number 2, 2-8-2 number 3, and 3-truck Shay locomotive number 4.
William Laughead, an advertising copywriter who had once worked in lumber camps, took the stories of an old lumberjack and reworked them into the modern character. He sold the stories of Paul Bunyan and his Blue Ox "Babe" to the Red River Lumber Company, which published "Introducing Mr. Paul Bunyan of Westwood, California" in 1916 as an advertising pamphlet. Among other things, Laughead gave the name "Babe" to the blue ox, originated the idea that Paul Bunyan and Babe were of enormous size, and created the first pictorial representation of Bunyan.
Enroll in the Ideal Interior Design School near Westwood CA
Picking the ideal interior designer school is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of things to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Westwood CA.
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