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What to Ask Interior Design Schools

After you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Fort Smith AR home. Of course 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 fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you select has been accredited by 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Fort Smith Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides providing an excellent education, the Fort Smith AR college you choose should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Arkansas or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication 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 indicate that the school has a sizable network of Fort Smith AR business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Fort Smith AR schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Fort Smith AR programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Fort Smith home, visit the campus and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Fort Smith AR, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.