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Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Decatur AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 confirm that the reputation of the school 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 accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Decatur AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Decatur AL college you choose should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam 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 received your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Decatur AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Decatur AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of support they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Decatur AL colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Decatur home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Decatur AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.