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After you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Sheffield AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry 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 instructors. 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 college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Sheffield AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become 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 several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Sheffield AL program you enroll in should also furnish 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance 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 high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a sizable network of Sheffield AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Sheffield AL schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Sheffield AL programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Sheffield home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. While there speak 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Sheffield AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

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