What to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Dora AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Dora AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some 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 college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Dora AL school you select should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a large network of Dora AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Dora AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Dora AL schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Dora home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Dora AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.