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Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs

After you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your AK home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Alaska employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep 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 as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the  AK college you choose should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a large network of  AK business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the  AK schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the AK schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near AK, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.