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Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Russellville AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry 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 teachers and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Russellville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Russellville AL program you enroll in should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Russellville AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Russellville AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Russellville AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Russellville home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Russellville AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.