Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Lipscomb AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design college and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. 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 evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Lipscomb AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Lipscomb AL school you select should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask 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 profession and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a large network of Lipscomb AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Lipscomb AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Lipscomb AL programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Lipscomb home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Lipscomb AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.