Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Ohatchee AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college 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 accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Ohatchee AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require 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 calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Ohatchee AL program you enroll in should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Ohatchee AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Ohatchee AL schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Ohatchee AL programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Ohatchee home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Ohatchee AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.