What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Valley Grande AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm 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 college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Valley Grande AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Valley Grande AL program you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with 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 probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a substantial network of Valley Grande AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Valley Grande AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Valley Grande AL programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Valley Grande home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Valley Grande AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.