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Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Fort Payne AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 training are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Fort Payne AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some 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 college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Fort Payne AL school you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill 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 no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Fort Payne AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Fort Payne AL colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively 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 larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Fort Payne AL colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Fort Payne home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your busy 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 Fort Payne AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.