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What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Kenai AK residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, 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 Kenai AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of 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 school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Kenai AK program you select should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a significant network of Kenai AK business connections 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 Kenai AK schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Kenai AK programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Kenai home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. While there talk with some 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 designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Kenai AK, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.