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Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Birmingham AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. 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 securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Birmingham AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of 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 program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Birmingham AL college you select should also furnish the suitable training 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 undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a large network of Birmingham AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Birmingham AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they offer. Many of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Birmingham AL programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Birmingham home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Birmingham AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.