Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Summerdale 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 qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary 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 respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure 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 school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Summerdale AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become 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 school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Summerdale AL school you select should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy 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 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 higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Summerdale AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Summerdale AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Summerdale AL programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Summerdale home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak 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, verify that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Summerdale AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.