How to Choose an Interior Designer College near Topeka Kansas
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Topeka KS, it’s time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it’s imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s essential that you do the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But just where do you begin? Many future students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary distinction between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Topeka KS may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate 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 main concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to 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 concepts, Topeka KS interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new career in Topeka KS. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Kansas community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree 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 achieving a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Topeka KS homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be a great option 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 laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Topeka KS home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It’s imperative to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Topeka KS employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So besides providing an excellent education, the Topeka KS program you choose should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Kansas or the State where you will be working.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a large network of Topeka KS business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Topeka KS schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they offer. Many of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Topeka KS schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Topeka home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask 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 Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Topeka KS, confirm 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, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Topeka KS?
Topeka (/toʊˈpiːkə/;Kansa: Tó Pee Kuh) is the capital city of the U.S. state of Kansas and the seat of Shawnee County. It is situated along the Kansas River in the central part of Shawnee County, in northeast Kansas, in the Central United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 127,473. The Topeka Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Shawnee, Jackson, Jefferson, Osage, and Wabaunsee counties, had a population of 233,870 in the 2010 census.
The name Topeka is a Kansa-Osage sentence that means "place where we dug potatoes", or "a good place to dig potatoes". As a placename, Topeka was first recorded in 1826 as the Kansa name for what is now called the Kansas River. Topeka's founders chose the name in 1855 because it "was novel, of Indian origin and euphonious of sound." The mixed-blood Kansa Native American, Joseph James, called Jojim, is credited with suggesting the name of Topeka. The city, laid out in 1854, was one of the Free-State towns founded by Eastern antislavery men immediately after the passage of the Kansas–Nebraska Bill. In 1857, Topeka was chartered as a city.
The city is well known for the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, which overturned Plessy vs. Ferguson and declared racial segregation in public schools to be unconstitutional. Three ships of the U.S. Navy have been named USS Topeka after the city.
Enroll in the Best Interior Design School near Topeka KS
Selecting the right interior designer college is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to recieve an advanced education, there are several things to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Topeka KS.
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