Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Elmore AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Elmore AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate 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 calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Elmore AL school you select should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a significant network of Elmore AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Elmore AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Elmore AL colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Elmore home, visit the college and attend a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask 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, verify that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Elmore AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.