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Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Lakes AK home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from 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 gone through a demanding evaluation 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Lakes AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate 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 program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Lakes AK school you select should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Lakes AK business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Lakes AK colleges you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Lakes AK programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Lakes home, go to the campus and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer program you enroll in provides 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 at night or on weekends near Lakes AK, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.