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What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Anniston AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Anniston AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Anniston AL college you enroll in should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a substantial network of Anniston AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Anniston AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Anniston AL schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Anniston home, visit the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few 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 Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Anniston AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.