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Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Oxford AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design program and school that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Oxford AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require 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, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Oxford AL school you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of Oxford AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Oxford AL schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Oxford AL schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Oxford home, visit the school 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 styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Oxford AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.