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Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Pelham AL home. Of course 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 cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Pelham AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Pelham AL program you select should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a large network of Pelham AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Pelham AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive 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 probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Pelham AL colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Pelham home, go to the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Pelham AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.