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What to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Chandler AZ home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below 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 assess and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. 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 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Chandler AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Chandler AZ college you select should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona 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 probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Chandler AZ business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Chandler AZ colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Chandler AZ colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Chandler home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Chandler AZ, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.