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Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Buckeye AZ residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to verify 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 highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Buckeye AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate 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, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Buckeye AZ school you choose should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a large network of Buckeye AZ business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Buckeye AZ schools you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Buckeye AZ schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Buckeye home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design college you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Buckeye AZ, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.