Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Level Plains AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you select 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Level Plains AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get 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 college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Level Plains AL college you select should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a significant network of Level Plains AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Level Plains AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Level Plains AL schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Level Plains home, go to the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Level Plains AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.