Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Mount Olive AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing 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 least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design program and college that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Mount Olive AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers become 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 program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Mount Olive AL college you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a large network of Mount Olive AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Mount Olive AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Mount Olive AL colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Mount Olive home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Mount Olive AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.