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Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Boaz AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer college and program 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Boaz AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get 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 program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Boaz AL school you choose should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of Boaz AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Boaz AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Boaz AL schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Boaz home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Boaz AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.