Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Steele AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer school and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, 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 Steele AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Steele AL program you enroll in should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a significant network of Steele AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Steele AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they offer. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Steele AL programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Steele home, go to the college and monitor 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 approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Steele AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.