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Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Fountain Hills AZ residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Fountain Hills AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Fountain Hills AZ program you enroll in should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs 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 an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a sizable network of Fountain Hills AZ business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Fountain Hills AZ schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Fountain Hills AZ colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Fountain Hills home, go to the school 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 styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Fountain Hills 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, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.