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Hartselle Alabama interior designed family room with piano

When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Hartselle AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry 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 teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Hartselle AL employers will only hire 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 necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Hartselle AL school you select should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a large network of Hartselle AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Hartselle AL colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Hartselle AL colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Hartselle home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Hartselle AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

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