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What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Prattville AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Prattville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate 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 school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Prattville AL school you choose should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill 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 designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Prattville AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Prattville AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Prattville AL schools you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Prattville home, visit the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Prattville AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.