Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Trinity AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and school that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Trinity AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become 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 calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Trinity AL school you select should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. 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 higher rate is an excellent sign 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 Trinity AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Trinity AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of support they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Trinity AL programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Trinity home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Trinity AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.