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Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Chelsea AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. 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 undergone a demanding assessment of their teachers 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 may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Chelsea AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Chelsea AL program you select should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably want 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 esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Chelsea AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Chelsea AL schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they offer. Many of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Chelsea AL schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Chelsea home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Chelsea AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.