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What to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Pell City Alabama interior designed family room with piano

After you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Pell City AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college 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 excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Pell City AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the School Prepare 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 school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Pell City AL program you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of Pell City AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Pell City AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of support they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Pell City AL programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Pell City home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with a few 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Pell City AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

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