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What to Ask Interior Design Programs

Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Altadena CA home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Altadena California employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Altadena CA school you enroll in should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Altadena CA business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Altadena CA colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Altadena CA colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Altadena home, visit the school and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your active 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 Altadena CA, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.