Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Thomasville AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Thomasville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Thomasville AL school you select should also provide the appropriate 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a substantial network of Thomasville AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Thomasville AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Thomasville AL programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Thomasville home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Thomasville AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.