Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Coosada AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer school and program that you select 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 undergone a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education 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 Coosada AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready 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) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Coosada AL program you choose should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Coosada AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Coosada AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of support they provide. Many of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Coosada AL colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Coosada home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Coosada AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.