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Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Hoover AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Hoover AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several 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 program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Hoover AL school you choose should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help 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 higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Hoover AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Hoover AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of support they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Hoover AL colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Hoover home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Hoover AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.