Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Sylvania AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Sylvania AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Sylvania AL school you choose should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a significant network of Sylvania AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Sylvania AL schools you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Sylvania AL programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Sylvania home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Sylvania AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.