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Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Fultondale AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. 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 college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Fultondale AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate 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 program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Fultondale AL college you select should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam 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? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a significant network of Fultondale AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Fultondale AL schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they provide. Many of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Fultondale AL schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Fultondale home, visit the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Fultondale AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.