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What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Saraland AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, 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 Saraland AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several 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 some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Saraland AL college you select should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam 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? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a substantial network of Saraland AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Saraland AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Saraland AL schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Saraland home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with a few 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? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Saraland AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.