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Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Roanoke AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning 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 agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Roanoke AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
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) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Roanoke AL college you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools 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 indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Roanoke AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Roanoke AL schools you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Roanoke AL colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Roanoke home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Roanoke AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.