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Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Midfield AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from 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 an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Midfield AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare 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) exam as well as 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 in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Midfield AL program you choose should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college 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 significant network of Midfield AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Midfield AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Midfield AL programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Midfield home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Midfield AL, confirm that those classes are offered. 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 illness, work or family emergencies.