Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have decided on the interior designer 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 has to be within commuting distance from your Eclectic AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Eclectic AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Eclectic AL college you enroll in should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Eclectic AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Eclectic AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Eclectic AL programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Eclectic home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Eclectic AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.