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Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Tuscumbia AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just confirm 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Tuscumbia AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get 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 program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Tuscumbia AL college you enroll in should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Tuscumbia AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Tuscumbia AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Tuscumbia AL colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Tuscumbia home, go to the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Tuscumbia AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.