Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your New Market AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of New Market AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the New Market AL college you select should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill 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 obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a significant network of New Market AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the New Market AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the New Market AL programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your New Market home, go to the campus 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 backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near New Market AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.