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Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Birmingham AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer program and school that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify 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 college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Birmingham Alabama employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become 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 program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Birmingham AL program you enroll in should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Birmingham AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Birmingham AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Birmingham AL colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Birmingham home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Birmingham AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.