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What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Forestdale AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment 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 organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Forestdale AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College 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 as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Forestdale AL school you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination 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 designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Forestdale AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Forestdale AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. 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 ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Forestdale AL programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Forestdale home, go to the campus and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few 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? Finally, make certain that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Forestdale AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.