Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Ashland AL residence. Of course 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 expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Ashland AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Ashland AL college you enroll in should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Ashland AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Ashland AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Ashland AL schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Ashland home, visit the college and attend 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 philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Ashland AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.