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Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools

When you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Phoenix AZ home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment 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 organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Phoenix Arizona employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the College Ready 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) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Phoenix AZ college you choose should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a large network of Phoenix AZ business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Phoenix AZ colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Phoenix AZ colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Phoenix home, go to the school and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Phoenix AZ, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.