Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Fayetteville AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design college and program that you enroll in 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm 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 school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Fayetteville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Fayetteville AL school you choose should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of Fayetteville AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Fayetteville AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Fayetteville AL programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Fayetteville home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Fayetteville AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.