What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Lafayette AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you choose has been accredited by 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 undergone a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Lafayette AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready 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) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Lafayette AL school you select should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a large network of Lafayette AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Lafayette AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Lafayette AL colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Lafayette home, go to the school and attend a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Lafayette AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.