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Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Anniston AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Anniston AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Anniston AL program you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Anniston AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Anniston AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Anniston AL programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Anniston home, go to the school and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Anniston AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.