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What to Ask Interior Design Programs

Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Alabaster AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. 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 an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. 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 excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Alabaster Alabama employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Alabaster AL program you choose should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a large network of Alabaster AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Alabaster AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Alabaster AL schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Alabaster home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Alabaster AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.