Alabaster Auburn Birmingham Decatur
Dothan East Florence Florence Gadsden
Hoover Huntsville Madison Mobile
Montgomery Phenix City Prattville Princeton
Tuscaloosa Vestavia Hills


 

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Alabama employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. So besides providing an outstanding education, the  AL program you enroll in should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a sizable network of  AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the  AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer colleges 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 choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the AL schools you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask 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, make certain that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.