Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Brookwood AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous 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 recognized 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 colleges. Also, many Brookwood AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of 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 mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Brookwood AL college you select should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Brookwood AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Brookwood AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases 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 Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Brookwood AL programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Brookwood home, go to the school 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 philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Brookwood AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.