What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school must be within driving distance from your Collinsville AL home. Naturally 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 fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous 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 agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Collinsville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require 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, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Collinsville AL program you select should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy 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 no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Collinsville AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Collinsville AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is important 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 assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Collinsville AL schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Collinsville home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with some 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Collinsville AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.