What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Guin AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Guin AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Guin AL college you choose should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. 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 indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Guin AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Guin AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of support they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Guin AL programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Guin home, go to the campus and attend a couple of classes. While there speak 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Guin AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.