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Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Dothan AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Dothan AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some 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 program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Dothan AL school you choose should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs 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 a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a large network of Dothan AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Dothan AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Dothan AL colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Dothan home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Dothan AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.