Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Dadeville AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design college and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Dadeville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get 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 program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Dadeville AL program you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer 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 high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of Dadeville AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Dadeville AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Dadeville AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Dadeville home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Dadeville AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.