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What to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Fort Payne AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing 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 School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Fort Payne AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Fort Payne AL college you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet 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 earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools 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 indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a large network of Fort Payne AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Fort Payne AL schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive 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 probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Fort Payne AL schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Fort Payne home, visit the school and monitor a few classes. While there talk with a few 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 Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Fort Payne AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.