Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Abbeville AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design college and program that you choose 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive 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 organization. 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 applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Abbeville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program 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 as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Abbeville AL school you enroll in should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Abbeville AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Abbeville AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? 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 Abbeville AL programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Abbeville home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer college you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Abbeville AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.