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What to Ask Interior Design Colleges

After you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Flagstaff AZ residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Flagstaff Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get 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 calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Flagstaff AZ college you enroll in should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Flagstaff AZ business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Flagstaff AZ schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Flagstaff AZ colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Flagstaff home, go to the school and attend 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 philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Flagstaff AZ, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.