Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Ashville AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal 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 school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer 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 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 instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Ashville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Ashville AL college you enroll in should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Ashville AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Ashville AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative 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 intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Ashville AL schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Ashville home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some 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, verify that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Ashville AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.