Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Centre AL home. Obviously 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 expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design school and program that you enroll in 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 undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Centre AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Centre AL program you choose should also provide the suitable 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 School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Centre AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Centre AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Centre AL colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Centre home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Centre AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.