What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Brent AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options 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 variables that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design college and program that you select has earned accreditation from 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just confirm 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Brent AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some 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 school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Brent AL school you choose should also furnish the proper instruction 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 College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Brent AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Brent AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Brent AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Brent home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Brent AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.