Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Highland Lakes AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared 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 most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design program and school that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college 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 education are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Highland Lakes AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get 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 college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Highland Lakes AL college you select should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements 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 design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Highland Lakes AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Highland Lakes AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Highland Lakes AL schools you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Highland Lakes home, visit the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few 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 certain that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Highland Lakes AL, confirm 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 protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.