Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Double Springs AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive 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 organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Double Springs AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require 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 some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So besides providing an excellent education, the Double Springs AL school you choose should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer 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 yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a significant network of Double Springs AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Double Springs AL schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design schools provide financial aid to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Double Springs AL schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Double Springs home, visit the school and attend 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 credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Double Springs AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.