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Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Jacksonville AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Jacksonville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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 as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Jacksonville AL school you enroll in should also provide 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 College'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 programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a substantial network of Jacksonville AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Jacksonville AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of support they offer. Many of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Jacksonville AL programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Jacksonville home, visit the campus and attend a couple of 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 Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Jacksonville AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.