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Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Muscle Shoals AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design school and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Muscle Shoals AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become 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 several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Muscle Shoals AL college you select should also provide the suitable training 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 College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a large network of Muscle Shoals AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Muscle Shoals AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Muscle Shoals AL colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Muscle Shoals home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Muscle Shoals AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.