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What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Dixiana AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and college that you select has been accredited by 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. 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 aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Dixiana AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require 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 mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Dixiana AL college you choose should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements 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 designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Dixiana AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Dixiana AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of support they provide. Many of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Dixiana AL colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Dixiana home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Dixiana AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.