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What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Troy AL home. Naturally 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 limit your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous 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 organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Troy AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get 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 college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Troy AL college you choose should also furnish the suitable 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 College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Troy AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Troy AL schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Troy AL programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Troy home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Troy AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.