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What to Ask Interior Design Programs

Clay Alabama interior designed family room with piano

Now that 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, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Clay AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design school and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded 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 assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Clay AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an excellent education, the Clay AL college you enroll in should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of Clay AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Clay AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Clay AL schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Clay home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Clay AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

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