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Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Prichard AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. 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 optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Prichard AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some 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 college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Prichard AL program you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Prichard AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Prichard AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Prichard AL programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Prichard home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Prichard AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.