Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Jemison AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. 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 school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Jemison AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Jemison AL program you enroll in should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a sizable network of Jemison AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Jemison AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of support they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Jemison AL programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Jemison home, go to the college 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 backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Jemison AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.