What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Loxley AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Loxley AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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 school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Loxley AL college you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate education 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 obtained your interior designer 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 so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a large network of Loxley AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Loxley AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Loxley AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Loxley home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Loxley AL, verify 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, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.