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Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Auburn AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Auburn AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Auburn AL college you enroll in should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out 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 profession and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Auburn AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Auburn AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Auburn AL schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Auburn home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and find out 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 school you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Auburn AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.