What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Sumiton AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Sumiton AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate 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 college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Sumiton AL school you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a significant network of Sumiton AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Sumiton AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Sumiton AL schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Sumiton home, go to the school and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Sumiton AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.