Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs
When you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Marion AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional 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 undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify 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 schools. Also, many Marion AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare 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 school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Marion AL program you select should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Marion AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Marion AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Marion AL colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Marion home, go to the school and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Marion AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.