Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Cowarts AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer college and program 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. 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 school and the quality of the training 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 Cowarts AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require 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 requiring licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Cowarts AL school you choose should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of Cowarts AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Cowarts AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior design programs offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Cowarts AL schools you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Cowarts home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Cowarts AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.