Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Haleyville AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Haleyville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate 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 furnishing an exceptional education, the Haleyville AL program you enroll in should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Haleyville AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Haleyville AL schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Haleyville AL programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Haleyville home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Haleyville AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.