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Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools

Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Huntsville AL residence. Of course 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 limit your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Huntsville Alabama employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get 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 college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Huntsville AL school you enroll in should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill 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 attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a large network of Huntsville AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Huntsville AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Huntsville AL programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Huntsville home, visit the school and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Huntsville AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.