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Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Theodore AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Theodore AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get 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 professional experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Theodore AL college you select should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet 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 no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Theodore AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Theodore AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of support they provide. Many of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Theodore AL colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Theodore home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Theodore AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.