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What to Ask Interior Design Programs
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Palmer AK residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Palmer AK employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Palmer AK college you choose should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a significant network of Palmer AK business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Palmer AK colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small 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 Palmer AK programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Palmer home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Palmer AK, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.