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Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Troy AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design program and college that you select 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding 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 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 assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Troy AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate 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 mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Troy AL program you choose should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher 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 could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Troy AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Troy AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Troy AL colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Troy home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Troy AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.