What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Odenville AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Odenville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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 requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an excellent education, the Odenville AL college you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing 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 no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs 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 a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Odenville AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Odenville AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Odenville AL programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Odenville home, go to the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Odenville AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.