What to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Marbury AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the most affordable 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 need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone 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 education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Marbury AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require 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 mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Marbury AL program you select should also provide the proper instruction 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 obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support 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 higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of Marbury AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Marbury AL schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Marbury AL schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Marbury home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Marbury AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.