What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your La Fayette AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school 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 schools. Also, many La Fayette AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the La Fayette AL school you enroll in should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a sizable network of La Fayette AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the La Fayette AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the La Fayette AL programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your La Fayette home, visit the college and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near La Fayette AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.