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Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Pelham AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Pelham AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get 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 college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Pelham AL college you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance 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 an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a large network of Pelham AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Pelham AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Pelham AL schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Pelham home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Pelham AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.