Interior Designer

Back to School

My textbooks are packed, my outfit picked out. That’s right — it’s the first day of school!

Textbooks are just as expensive as ever.

This winter and spring, I am taking a couple of introductory interior design courses to learn more about the career. I hope to not only get an overview of the ins and outs of being an interior designer, but also get some insights into the various ways to make a living in this field.

I have been interested in interior design for years. I grew up on home improvement and design shows. As an art history major, I learned to appreciate the beauty and thoughtfulness in space design. More than anything, I love that interior design is not just about picking out pretty things; it’s about creating an environmental experience.

Find the right learning resource

A few years ago, my interest in interior design had grown enough that I started researching certificate programs. As with any design field, experience and a portfolio is key, and I figured that a structured program would provide not only the education, but an opportunity to build up a portfolio through sample projects.

A quick online search of “interior design certificate programs bay area” quickly netted me this San Francisco Chronicle article titled “So you want to be an interior designer”. The article gives an overview of a number of academic institutions throughout the Bay area that offer interior design education. That’s how I found Cañada College’s interior design program.

At a fraction of the cost of, say, UC Berkeley Extension’s interior design certificate, completion of Cañada’s program fulfills the educational requirement for the IDEX exam to become a Certified Interior Designer (CID) in California. And according to the article, a typical student as Cañada College is “older, often with a degree in another field, and often with an already established career.” Indeed, that is reflected in their class schedule — most classes are just one day a week for three hours, with many courses having an evening option.

My classes

I decided to start with two introductory classes as part of Cañada’s interior design certificate program. I thought this would allow me to get a good overview of the field while not committing too much time or money. And if I do decide this is a career I want to pursue, I can go on to complete the certificate program through Cañada College and already have two classes under my belt.

Introduction to Interior Design

Examination of the interior built environment with emphasis on residential design. The elements and principles of design along with historical and cultural influences are examined as they relate to the functional and aesthetic aspects of interior spaces. Students develop skills in critical analysis of interiors and create individual solutions through design projects.

Interior Architectural Drafting

Introduction to the tools and techniques for drafting interior spaces. Emphasis is on creating a set of architectural drawings using hand drafting standards and techniques as related to producing interior architectural drawings.

New for the sabbatical

In addition to moving on to a new career as part of this exploration process, I am also trying a new approach to my research. It will be interesting to see if I get more out of this very structured learning, as I delve into a new field. I’ll report back within the next few weeks with my first impressions on the classes.

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