Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Linden AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Linden AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get 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 college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Linden AL program you choose should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Linden AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Linden AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of support they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Linden AL colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Linden home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design college you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Linden AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.