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What to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Jacksonville AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Jacksonville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Jacksonville AL program you choose should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a substantial network of Jacksonville AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Jacksonville AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of support they provide. Many of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Jacksonville AL programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Jacksonville home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Jacksonville AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.