What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Good Hope AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Good Hope AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Good Hope AL college you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate training 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 College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of Good Hope AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Good Hope AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Good Hope AL programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Good Hope home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk 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 Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Good Hope AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.