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Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Greenville AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design program and school that you select 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). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Greenville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate 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, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Greenville AL program you enroll in should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing 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 need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Greenville AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Greenville AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Greenville AL programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Greenville home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Greenville AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.