Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Cleveland AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design program and college that you choose 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). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. 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 excellent, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Cleveland AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Cleveland AL college you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a significant network of Cleveland AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Cleveland AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Cleveland AL schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Cleveland home, visit the college and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Cleveland AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.