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Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Millbrook AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move 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 your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry 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 college and the degree program 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 training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Millbrook AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Millbrook AL school you choose should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a substantial network of Millbrook AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Millbrook AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Millbrook AL programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Millbrook home, visit the college and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask 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 Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Millbrook AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.