Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs
When you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Lookout Mountain AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 confirm 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 available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Lookout Mountain AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become 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 several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Lookout Mountain AL school you choose should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance 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 profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Lookout Mountain AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Lookout Mountain AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Lookout Mountain AL schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Lookout Mountain home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask 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 Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Lookout Mountain AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.