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What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Albertville AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design college and program that you enroll in 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 undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Albertville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become 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 school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Albertville AL school you enroll in should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program'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 job. Ask the programs that you are looking at 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 highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of Albertville AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Albertville AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they provide. Many of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Albertville AL programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Albertville home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with some 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Albertville AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.