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What to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Anchorage AK home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Anchorage AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get 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 some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Anchorage AK program you choose should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alaska or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at 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 highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a significant network of Anchorage AK business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Anchorage AK schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they offer. Many of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Anchorage AK programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Anchorage home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out 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 designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Anchorage AK, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.