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Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools

When you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Castro Valley CA residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding 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 organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Castro Valley California employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several 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 college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Castro Valley CA program you select should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Castro Valley CA business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Castro Valley CA schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is imperative 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 aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Castro Valley CA programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Castro Valley home, visit the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Castro Valley CA, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.