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Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus must be within driving distance from your Foley AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Foley AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Foley AL college you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy 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 obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a significant network of Foley AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Foley AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Foley AL programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Foley home, go to the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer school you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Foley AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.