Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Malvern AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry 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 teachers. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Malvern AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Malvern AL program you select should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet 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 earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a significant network of Malvern AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Malvern AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Malvern AL programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Malvern home, go to the campus and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Malvern AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.