Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Columbiana AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. 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 education are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Columbiana AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become 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 school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Columbiana AL school you enroll in should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
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 position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of Columbiana AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Columbiana AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of support they offer. Many of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Columbiana AL colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Columbiana home, go to the college and attend a few 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 Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Columbiana AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.