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Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Bay Minette AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Bay Minette AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare 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 college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Bay Minette AL program you choose should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a large network of Bay Minette AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Bay Minette AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Bay Minette AL programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Bay Minette home, visit the school and monitor a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Bay Minette AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.