Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Elberta AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Elberta AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become 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 school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Elberta AL school you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a large network of Elberta AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Elberta AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of support they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Elberta AL schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Elberta home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with a few 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Elberta AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.