What to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Hartford AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design program and college that you select has earned accreditation from 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. 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 exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Hartford AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Hartford AL college you choose should also furnish the appropriate 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 College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a significant network of Hartford AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Hartford AL schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Hartford AL programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Hartford home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic 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 Hartford AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.