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Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Helena AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from 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 undergone an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college 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 training are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Helena AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Helena AL college you select should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Helena AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Helena AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Helena AL colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Helena home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Helena AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.