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Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Montevallo AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following 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 pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design program and school that you choose 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Montevallo AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Montevallo AL college you select should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher 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 school has a significant network of Montevallo AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Montevallo AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Montevallo AL programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Montevallo home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Montevallo AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.