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Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Mobile AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. 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 securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Mobile Alabama employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Mobile AL college you select should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Mobile AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Mobile AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Mobile AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Mobile home, visit the college and attend a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Mobile AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.