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Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs

After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school must be within driving distance from your AR residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get 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 several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the  AR college you select should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools 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 an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of  AR business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the  AR schools you are looking at and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design schools provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the AR colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer program you enroll in 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 at night or on weekends near AR, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.