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What to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Montgomery AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Montgomery Alabama employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become 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 mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Montgomery AL school you select should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a significant network of Montgomery AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Montgomery AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

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 minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Montgomery AL colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Montgomery home, visit the college and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with some 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Montgomery AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.