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Helena Alabama interior designed family room with piano

Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Helena AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design program and school that you select has been accredited by 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Helena AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Helena AL school you select should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a large network of Helena AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Helena AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Helena AL colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Helena home, go to the campus and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Helena AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

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