NCIDQ Certified Interior Designers

CIDQ has an ongoing series about NCIDQ Certificate holders whose personal and professional paths inspire us. You can read about their careers, passions, interests and thoughts on the NCIDQ Certification. Each designer explained why NCIDQ Certification matters. Click on an image below to read more about a featured designer. 

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To verify that a designer is NCIDQ Certified, regardless of active status, go to the VERIFY NCIDQ CERTIFIED INTERIOR DESIGNER webpage. Verification will require the designer's name, certification number and certification expiration date. (The certified interior designer you are searching for can provide you with this information.)

Ensure you engage a highly trained, highly qualified professional for your interior design project: hire an NCIDQ Certified interior designer.


Use the best specialists to save time and money, plus reduce liability and apprehension. So seek out an interior designer with knowledge, experience and credentials similar to those you expect from an architect, engineer or any other building professional on your team.


NCIDQ Certified interior designers have distinguished themselves by demonstrating a specific set of core interior design competencies, supported by verified work experience and a college degree. They have proven their knowledge of current standards established to protect public health, safety and welfare, as well as mastery of aesthetic considerations. They have earned the industry’s highest standard of proficiency in interior design principles by successfully passing the NCIDQ Examination.

For more than 40 years, the strenuous requirements of the NCIDQ Examination have enabled clients and employers to have confidence in caliber of work from certified designers. The exam covers the core competencies of interior design, and the test’s contents are continually updated to ensure they reflect the most current skills required to design secure, functional and innovative interior spaces.


The Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ) administers the NCIDQ Exam. CIDQ, which is comprised of regulatory boards from across the United States and Canada, takes seriously its responsibility to protect the public. Accordingly, NCIDQ Certified interior designers must complete a minimum of six years of specialized education and work experience and pass the three-part NCIDQ Exam, which is based on CIDQ’s independent, comprehensive analysis of the profession and the daily practice of interior design in a range of settings. NCIDQ Certification meets legal and regulatory standards for the interior design profession as established by more than half of the states across the U.S. and the provinces in Canada.

The Professional Difference Between

"Interior Designer" and "Interior Decorator"

Many people use the terms "interior design" and "interior decorating" interchangeably, but these professions differ in critical ways.

Interior design is the art and science of understanding people's behavior to create functional spaces within a building. Decoration is the furnishing or adorning of a space with fashionable or beautiful things. In short, interior designers may decorate, but decorators do not design.


Interior designers apply creative and technical solutions within a structure that are functional, attractive and beneficial to the occupants' quality of life and culture. Designs respond to and coordinate with the building shell and acknowledge the physical location and social context of the project. Designs must adhere to code and regulatory requirements and encourage the principles of environmental sustainability.

The interior design process follows a systematic and coordinated methodology -- including research, analysis and integration of knowledge into the creative process — to satisfy the client’s needs and resources.

U.S. states and Canadian provinces have passed laws requiring interior designers to be licensed or registered and to document their formal education and training. Many states and provinces also specifically require all practicing interior designers to earn the NCIDQ Certification to demonstrate their experience and qualifications.


By contrast, interior decorators require no formal training or licensure.