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Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Florence AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design program and college that you choose has been accredited by 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Florence AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School 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 college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Florence AL college you choose should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out 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 trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Florence AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Florence AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive 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 minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Florence AL schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Florence home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Florence AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.