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What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Lincoln AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables 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 schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Lincoln AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate 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 program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Lincoln AL program you choose should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication 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 signify that the college has a large network of Lincoln AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Lincoln AL schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Lincoln AL schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Lincoln home, go to the school and attend a few classes. While there talk with a few 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Lincoln AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.