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Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools

When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Arcadia CA home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. 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 requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Arcadia California employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Arcadia CA program you select should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask 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 in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Arcadia CA business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Arcadia CA schools you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide 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 limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Arcadia CA programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Arcadia home, go to the school and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask 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, make certain that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Arcadia CA, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.