Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Emerald Mountain AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below 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 examine and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Emerald Mountain AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Emerald Mountain AL program you enroll in should also provide the suitable education 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 School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Emerald Mountain AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Emerald Mountain AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Emerald Mountain AL schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Emerald Mountain home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Emerald Mountain AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.