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Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Monroeville AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you select has been accredited by 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify 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 school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Monroeville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Monroeville AL college you choose should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Monroeville AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Monroeville AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of support they provide. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Monroeville AL colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Monroeville home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Monroeville AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.