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Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Valley AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Valley AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as 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 also. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Valley AL school you select should also provide the appropriate 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? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Valley AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Valley AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Valley AL schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Valley home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Valley AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.