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Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
When you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Center Point AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college 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 exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Center Point AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require 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 school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Center Point AL school you choose should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with 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 obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a large network of Center Point AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Center Point AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Center Point AL programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Center Point home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with a few 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? Finally, make certain that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Center Point AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.