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Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Mobile AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their teachers 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Mobile AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require 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 requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Mobile AL college you enroll in should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want 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 high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of Mobile AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Mobile AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Mobile AL colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Mobile home, go to the college and attend 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Mobile AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.