Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
When you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Graysville AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design college and program that you choose 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Graysville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get 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 several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Graysville AL program you select should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Graysville AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Graysville AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Graysville AL schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Graysville home, visit the school and attend a few classes. While there talk with a few 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design program you choose 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 Graysville AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.