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What to Ask Interior Design Schools

After you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Alameda CA home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design program and school 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 assessment of their programs and instructors. 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 school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Alameda California employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several 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 some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Alameda CA program you select should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, 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 field and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a substantial network of Alameda CA business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Alameda CA schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they provide. Many of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Alameda CA schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Alameda home, go to the school and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design college you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Alameda CA, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.