Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Shelby AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment 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 may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Shelby AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate 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 college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Shelby AL college you choose should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Shelby 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 Shelby AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Shelby AL schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Shelby home, go to the campus and sit in on a few 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 backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Shelby AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.