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What to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Cottonwood Arizona interior designed family room with piano

After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Cottonwood AZ residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and school that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify 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 training are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Cottonwood AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the School 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) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Cottonwood AZ school you select should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Cottonwood AZ business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Cottonwood AZ colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Cottonwood AZ colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Cottonwood home, go to the school and attend a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Cottonwood AZ, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

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