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Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Northport AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Northport AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require 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 mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Northport AL program you enroll in should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet 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 obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering 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 college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Northport AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Northport AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Northport AL schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Northport home, visit the campus and monitor a few 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 backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Northport AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.