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Saraland Alabama interior designed family room with piano

Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Saraland AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and school that you select has been accredited by 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 a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Saraland AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Saraland AL school you enroll in should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Saraland AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Saraland AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Saraland AL schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Saraland home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Saraland AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

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