Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Slocomb AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Slocomb AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Slocomb AL college you enroll in should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a large network of Slocomb AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Slocomb AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of support they provide. Many of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Slocomb AL schools you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Slocomb home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Slocomb AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.