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Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Foley AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer program and school that you choose has been accredited by 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 make sure 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Foley AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some 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 college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Foley AL program you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs 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 a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Foley AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Foley AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Foley AL colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Foley home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Foley AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.