Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Shoal Creek AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables 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 ask the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from 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). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Shoal Creek AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Shoal Creek AL program you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing 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 no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of Shoal Creek AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Shoal Creek AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Shoal Creek AL programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Shoal Creek home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with a few 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer school you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Shoal Creek AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.