What are the Different Types of Interior Design Accreditation?

Lindsay Zortman

Interior designers can earn certification or accreditation to show they are proficient in their craft. The two main accreditation entities in the United States are the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) and the Interior Design Society (IDS). Getting an interior design accreditation requires passing a certification test with questions pertaining to interior design. Interior design accreditation benefits both designers and consumers. Consumers enjoy the added security of knowing their interior designer is accredited, and designers can earn more money by having their accreditation.

Part I of the CQRID exam asks 180 multiple choice questions.
Part I of the CQRID exam asks 180 multiple choice questions.

The NCIDQ exam is the only nationally recognized interior design accreditation in the United States. Applicants need to finish six years of education and experience to be eligible to take the NCIDQ exam. Of their combined education and work experience, interior designers need to have two years of formal interior design education. Seven content areas are covered in the NCIDQ, including Building Systems, Codes, Construction Standards, Professional Practice, Project Coordination, Contract Administration, and Design Application.

Interior design accreditation benefits both designers and consumers.
Interior design accreditation benefits both designers and consumers.

Professional interior design accreditation from NCIDQ is a requirement in 26 of the U.S. states, and Canadian provinces are also using this licensure. Another benefit of holding this interior design accreditation is that certified designers are allowed to apply for membership in the American Society of Interior Designers once they have passed their exam. Homeowners, business owners and the general public are more likely to have an experienced, well-trained designer if they hire someone with the NCIDQ accreditation.

The Council for Qualification of Residential Interior Designers (CQRID) exam is offered by the IDS to designers specializing in residential interiors. The IDS offers its CQRID test to applicants with a combined six years of experience. IDS allows applicants to combine their educational degree and work experience in several combinations, as long as they add up to six years of experience. Even applicants with only a high school diploma may apply if they have eight years of full-time work experience.

Complete application packages need to be turned into the Interior Design Society at least 45 days prior to testing, and only four exam dates are offered each year. A benefit of interior design accreditation with the CQRID is that it instills consumer confidence in the designer in a residential field. There are two parts to the CQRID exam. Part 1 is a multiple choice test with 180 questions, and Part 2 is a set of design problems. Combining the CQRID and the NCIDQ accreditations into one is a possibility and can distinguish designers above their competition.

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