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Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Oneonta AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the least expensive 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 should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer school 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Oneonta AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Oneonta AL school you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam 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 received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a substantial network of Oneonta AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Oneonta AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Oneonta AL colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Oneonta home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Oneonta AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.