What to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Headland AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Headland AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Headland AL college you enroll in should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam 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? After you have graduated and earned 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 placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Headland AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Headland AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Headland AL programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Headland home, visit the campus and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Headland AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.