What to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Henagar AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design program and school that you select 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 undergone a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. 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 college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Henagar AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Henagar AL college you choose should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance 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 held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Henagar AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Henagar AL schools you are evaluating and find out what type of support they provide. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Henagar AL programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Henagar home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Henagar AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.