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Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Saks AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Saks AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get 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, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Saks AL program you choose should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a significant network of Saks AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Saks AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large 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. Find out from the Saks AL colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Saks home, visit the college and attend a couple of 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 backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Saks AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.