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What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Homewood AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from 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). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Homewood AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become 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 school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Homewood AL program you enroll in should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Homewood AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Homewood AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of support they provide. Many of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Homewood AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Homewood home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Homewood AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.