Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Hanceville AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify 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 college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Hanceville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program 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) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Hanceville AL program you enroll in should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a significant network of Hanceville AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Hanceville AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Hanceville AL programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Hanceville home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Hanceville AL, make sure 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, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.