What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Citronelle AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design program and college that you enroll in 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation 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 organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Citronelle AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
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) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Citronelle AL college you select should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a significant network of Citronelle AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Citronelle AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Citronelle AL programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Citronelle home, visit the school and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer college you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Citronelle AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.