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Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs

Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Conway AR residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Conway Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep 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) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Conway AR college you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Arkansas or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a significant network of Conway AR business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Conway AR schools you are reviewing and ask what type of support they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Conway AR schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Conway home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Conway AR, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.