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Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Lake Havasu City AZ home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design school 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Lake Havasu City AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Lake Havasu City AZ school you choose should also provide the proper training 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 School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, 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 field and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a significant network of Lake Havasu City AZ business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Lake Havasu City AZ schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they offer. Many of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Lake Havasu City AZ programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Lake Havasu City home, visit the campus 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 styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Lake Havasu City AZ, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.