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Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Huntsville AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Huntsville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require 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 college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Huntsville AL school you choose should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a large network of Huntsville AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Huntsville AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Huntsville AL colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Huntsville home, visit the school and monitor 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 credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Huntsville AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you 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.