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What to Ask Interior Design Programs

Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Phenix City AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation 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 to help you examine and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Phenix City Alabama employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Phenix City AL school you enroll in should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask 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 field and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a large network of Phenix City AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Phenix City AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Phenix City AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Phenix City home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of 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 credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Phenix City AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.