What to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Taylor AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Taylor AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate 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, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Taylor AL school you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a large network of Taylor AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Taylor AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Taylor AL schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Taylor home, go to the campus and attend a couple of 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 credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design school you enroll in 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 Taylor AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.