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What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Tuskegee AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. 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 demanding assessment 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify 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 Tuskegee AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Tuskegee AL college you select should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Tuskegee AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Tuskegee AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? 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 Tuskegee AL schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Tuskegee home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of 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 experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Tuskegee AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.