Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Bridgeport AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design college and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Bridgeport AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate 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 college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an excellent education, the Bridgeport AL college you select should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Bridgeport AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Bridgeport AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Bridgeport AL schools you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Bridgeport home, visit the school and monitor a few classes. While there talk with a few 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Bridgeport AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.