What to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Moundville AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Moundville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get 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 requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Moundville AL school you choose should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College'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 yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Moundville AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Moundville AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Moundville AL programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Moundville home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. While there talk with some 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Moundville AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.