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Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your College AK home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many College AK employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the College AK college you enroll in should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at 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 graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a large network of College AK business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the College AK colleges you are looking at and ask what type of support they provide. A number of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the College AK programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your College home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near College AK, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.