Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school must be within driving distance from your Falkville AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design school and program 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Falkville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Falkville AL school you choose should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet 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 obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Falkville AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Falkville AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Falkville AL colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Falkville home, visit the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Falkville AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.