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What to Ask Interior Designer Schools

When you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Tuscaloosa 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 narrow down your choices as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you choose 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Tuscaloosa Alabama employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So besides providing an excellent education, the Tuscaloosa AL school you choose should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a large network of Tuscaloosa AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Tuscaloosa AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is imperative 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 offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Tuscaloosa AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Tuscaloosa home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some 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 program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Tuscaloosa AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.