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What to Ask Interior Design Schools

Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your San Tan Valley AZ residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of San Tan Valley Arizona employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the San Tan Valley AZ school you select should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a large network of San Tan Valley AZ business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the San Tan Valley AZ colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of support they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the San Tan Valley AZ programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your San Tan Valley home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near San Tan Valley AZ, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.