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What to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Coachella CA home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design program and college that you select has earned accreditation from 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 undergone a rigorous assessment 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Coachella California employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Coachella CA school you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for California or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance 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 high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a substantial network of Coachella CA business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Coachella CA colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

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 Coachella CA programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Coachella home, go to the school and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Coachella CA, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.