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Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools

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When you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Gardendale AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded 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 programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized 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 applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Gardendale AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become 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 program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides providing an excellent education, the Gardendale AL program you enroll in 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 employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Gardendale AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Gardendale AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Gardendale AL programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Gardendale home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. While there speak 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Gardendale AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

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