Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Grove Hill AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Grove Hill AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Grove Hill AL program you choose should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Grove Hill AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Grove Hill AL colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Grove Hill AL colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Grove Hill home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Grove Hill AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.