Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Lake View AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Lake View AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School 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) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Lake View AL college you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing 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 need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Lake View AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Lake View AL schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Lake View AL colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Lake View home, go to the school 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 credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Lake View AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.