Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Blue Ridge AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify 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 school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Blue Ridge AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get 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 some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Blue Ridge AL college you enroll in should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a large network of Blue Ridge AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Blue Ridge AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Blue Ridge AL programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Blue Ridge home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer school you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Blue Ridge AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.