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Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Tuscaloosa AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Tuscaloosa AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Tuscaloosa AL school you select should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Tuscaloosa AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Tuscaloosa AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Tuscaloosa AL colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Tuscaloosa home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Tuscaloosa AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.