What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Centreville AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Centreville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Centreville AL school you select should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination 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 obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Centreville AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Centreville AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of support they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Centreville AL colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Centreville home, visit the school and attend 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 experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Centreville AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.