Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Ardmore AL 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 qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Ardmore AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate 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 some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Ardmore AL college you choose should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a large network of Ardmore AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Ardmore AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. 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 actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Ardmore AL programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Ardmore home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Ardmore AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.