What to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Samson AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their instructors 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Samson AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate 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 college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Samson AL program you choose should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a large network of Samson AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Samson AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of support they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Samson AL colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Samson home, go to the school and attend a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Samson AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.