What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Newton AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of concerns 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 assess and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation 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 may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Newton AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require 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 program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Newton AL school you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill 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 obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools 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 college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a large network of Newton AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Newton AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Newton AL schools you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Newton home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer 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 go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Newton AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.