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Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Andalusia AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Andalusia AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Andalusia AL college you enroll in should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high 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 in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Andalusia AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Andalusia AL schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Andalusia AL colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Andalusia home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Andalusia AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.