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What to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Pleasant Grove AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded 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 evaluation 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Pleasant Grove AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Pleasant Grove AL school you choose should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of Pleasant Grove AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Pleasant Grove AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Pleasant Grove AL programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Pleasant Grove home, go to the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Pleasant Grove AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.