Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Cordova AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Cordova AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Cordova AL college you select should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering 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 college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Cordova AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Cordova AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Cordova AL colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Cordova home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Cordova AL, make certain 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, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.