What to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Warrior AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you select has earned accreditation from 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 evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Warrior AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Warrior AL college you enroll in should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Warrior AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Warrior AL schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Warrior AL programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Warrior home, visit the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure 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 in the evening or on weekends near Warrior AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.