What to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Ashford AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Ashford AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require 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 college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Ashford AL college you select should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a large network of Ashford AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Ashford AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Ashford AL colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Ashford home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Ashford AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.