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Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Southside AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Southside AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Southside AL school you choose should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Southside AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Southside AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Southside AL colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Southside home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. While there talk with some students and find out 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Southside AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.