Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Florala AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. 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 education are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Florala 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 necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Florala AL program 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 working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a significant network of Florala AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Florala AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of support they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Florala AL colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Florala home, visit the college and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Florala AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.