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Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Maricopa AZ home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment 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 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 applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Maricopa AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Maricopa AZ program you select should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges 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 college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Maricopa AZ business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Maricopa AZ schools you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Maricopa AZ schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Maricopa home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer college you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Maricopa AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.