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Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Leeds AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Leeds AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get 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 mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Leeds AL school you enroll in 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 College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of Leeds AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Leeds AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Leeds AL programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Leeds home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Leeds AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.