Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Midland City AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Midland City AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of 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 some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Midland City AL college you choose should also provide the appropriate education 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 College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably want 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 higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Midland City AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Midland City AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Midland City AL colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Midland City home, go to the campus and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Midland City AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.