Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus must be within driving distance from your Piedmont AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Piedmont AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as 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. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Piedmont AL college you enroll in should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy 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 attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Piedmont AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Piedmont AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Piedmont AL colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Piedmont home, visit the school and attend a few classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Piedmont AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.