Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Chatom AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. 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 a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Chatom AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Chatom AL college you select should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a significant network of Chatom AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Chatom AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of support they provide. Many of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Chatom AL schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Chatom home, go to the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Chatom AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.