Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Fayette AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program 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 training are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Fayette AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate 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 program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Fayette AL college you enroll in should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a large network of Fayette AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Fayette AL schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases 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? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Fayette AL programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Fayette home, visit the campus and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic 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 Fayette AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.