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What to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Paradise Valley AZ residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Paradise Valley AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Paradise Valley AZ college you select should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs 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 college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Paradise Valley AZ business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Paradise Valley AZ schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Paradise Valley AZ schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Paradise Valley home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. While there talk with a few 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 college 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 go to classes at night or on weekends near Paradise Valley AZ, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.