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Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
When you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Fairhope AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer school 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding 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 agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Fairhope AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare 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) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Fairhope AL program you choose should also provide 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Fairhope AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Fairhope AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they provide. Many of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Fairhope AL schools you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Fairhope home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Fairhope AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.