NCIDQ Examination Eligibility Paths

Specific education and work experience requirements exist to be eligible to sit for the NCIDQ Examination. Information sheets and work experience forms are available for download and can be viewed online further down this page. Educated outside of the U.S. or Canada? 

Education

Official education transcripts must include a minimum of 60 semester or 90 quarter credit hours of post-secondary interior design coursework that encompasses a certificate, degree, or diploma from an accredited institution to be eligible.

INTERIOR DESIGN

 

BACHELOR or MASTER DEGREE

CIDA or Non-CIDA

BACHELOR or MASTER

DEGREE (Other Major)

+ INTERIOR DESIGN 

CERTIFICATE, DEGREE, OR DIPLOMA

 

ASSOCIATE DEGREE, CERTIFICATE, or DIPLOMA

ARCHITECTURE

 

BACHELOR or

MASTER DEGREE

NAAB or CACB

 

BACHELOR or

MASTER DEGREE

Non-NAAB or

Non-CACB

+ Experience Hours must be earned and affirmed by a Direct Supervisor and/or Sponsor*

Up to 1,760 hours of interior design work experience, earned prior to graduation, may be included in overall work experience total.

3,520 WORK HOURS

(2 Years Full-Time)

5,280 WORK HOURS

(3 Years Full-Time)

7,040 WORK HOURS

(4 Years Full-Time)

Meeting CIDQ's education and work experience requirements does not guarantee that a candidate will meet their jurisdiction's requirements to be a licensed/registered/certified interior designer. Individuals are reminded to check with their jurisdiction regarding those specific requirements.

Who Can be a Direct Supervisor and/or Sponsor?

A direct supervisor and/or sponsor must be a design professional, defined as someone who meets at least one of the following three criteria:

 

  • NCIDQ Certified Interior Designer

  • State/Provincial Licensed/Registered/Certified Interior Designer in the US or Canada

  • State/Provincial Licensed/Registered Architect in the US or Canada who provides interior design services

 

A Direct Supervisor is a design professional, as defined above, who provides substantial oversight and control of a candidate’s work and possesses detailed knowledge of the tasks performed.

 

A Sponsor is a design professional, as defined above, who agrees to review a candidate’s professional progress and affirm interior design work experience hours. A sponsor may or may not work within the same firm as the candidate.

Eligibility for Candidates Outside of the U.S. and Canada

Candidates with an interior design education (degree, diploma or certificate) or Bachelor's degree (minimum) in architecture earned abroad may qualify for the NCIDQ Exam. These candidates must have their transcripts translated and evaluated by an education evaluator such as World Education Services or Education Credential Evaluators and may be eligible if the evaluation matches one of the eligibility paths. Submitted evaluations must include course titles with corresponding U.S. credit equivalency to ensure education meets CIDQ requirements of 60 semester credits of interior design coursework.

 
The Alternative Review Process is for candidates who are unable to document the minimum educational requirements. Candidates in Canada or the State of Nevada should contact the regulatory agencies in their region prior to submitting an ARP application, in order to ensure compliance with requirements specific to their locale.

Alternative Review Process (ARP)

Verify Work Experience

Verification of work experience is required to sit for the IDPX and Practicum Exam sections.

NCIDQ Exam Qualified Work Experience Requirements

DIRECT SUPERVISOR/SPONSOR - CANDIDATE RELATIONSHIP EXPECTATIONS

CIDQ recommends the candidate meet quarterly with their direct supervisor and/or sponsor to discuss and review the candidate’s work experience. Meetings must occur via phone, video chat, or in person; email-only is not sufficient. It is the responsibility of the candidate to schedule meetings with their direct supervisor/sponsor. 

Conversations should focus on the phases of a design project, including those described below.

 

Successful candidates should have work experience and exposure in a variety of of interior design areas to be well-rounded for professional practice. If the candidate is lacking experience in one or more areas, it would benefit them to gain more experience as they continue to improve their interior design knowledge and skills.

Work forms signed off by a sponsor are valued the same as those from a direct supervisor. A sponsor must determine and be comfortable with the candidate's presented work, whether past or present. This may include a review of drawings and plans; photographs; project tours; and references, as examples.

VALUE FOR WORK HOURS

TYPE OF SUPERVISOR
NCIDQ Certified Interior Designer
State (US) or Provincial (Canada) Licensed, Registered, or Certified Interior Designer
State (US) or Provincial (Canada) Licensed or Registered Architect Who Provides Interior Design Services

DIRECT SUPERVISOR

100%

100%

100%

SPONSOR

100%

100%

100%

DESIGN PROJECT PHASES

 

PRE-DESIGN

Preliminary research of client and user needs and goals, project scope and schedule, and interior concept development; zoning and site analyses; selection of project team.

PROGRAMMING

The process of gathering and analyzing information about the client’s and user’s needs relative to a given project. It involves organization, structure, and goals; functional, behavioral, and cultural needs; budget; existing conditions; codes; and external considerations.

SCHEMATIC DESIGN

The preparation of preliminary plans, furniture layouts, materials choices, and other components, through the process of considering all of the ramifications of the needs expressed in the programming stage.

DESIGN DEVELOPMENT

Encompasses the final recommendations for the complete project, including consultations with consultants, and obtaining client approval for production of working drawings for the project.

CONTRACT DOCUMENTS

The documents prepared to obtain prices from various sources following final approval from client including working drawings for all details as necessary and specifications and schedules for construction and materials.

 

BINDING/TENDERING

Assisting clients in hiring a contractor; answering contractor questions and providing any additional documentation if requested or needed by the contractor.

CONTRACT ADMINISTRATION

Once contracts have been awarded, defining the goals, coordinating the tasks and scheduling, preparing and monitoring a critical path for construction and installation, overseeing quality control and performance, acting as a liaison between the client and contractors, maintaining budget control, and overseeing all legal aspects of the contracts.

PROJECT CONCLUSION

Final walk though of project and determination of any additional items needing attention. Discussion of care and maintenance of finishes, furnishings, and equipment. Post-Occupancy evaluations and other forms of research.

ANCILLARY/ADDITIONAL SERVICES

Professional exposure and liability; accounting and methods of compensation; marketing; photo-realistic renderings; inventory of existing furniture and equipment.