Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Redstone Arsenal AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design school and program that you enroll in 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 gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program 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 training are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Redstone Arsenal AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become 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 some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Redstone Arsenal AL school you select should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a large network of Redstone Arsenal AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Redstone Arsenal AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of support they provide. Many of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Redstone Arsenal AL colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Redstone Arsenal home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Redstone Arsenal AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.