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What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Coolidge AZ home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer college and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Coolidge AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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 college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Coolidge AZ school you enroll in should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Coolidge AZ business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Coolidge AZ colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of support they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Coolidge AZ schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Coolidge home, go to the campus and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Coolidge AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.