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The Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ), an independent, non-profit corporation composed of state and provincial credentialing bodies, provides the North American public with the means to identify interior designers who have demonstrated the minimum level of competence needed to practice interior design. In fulfillment of this purpose, CIDQ provides a professional examination in interior design. One hundred percent of the Examination covers those aspects of the practice of interior design that affect the public's health, safety and welfare.

About CIDQ and the NCIDQ Examination and Certification[edit]

The Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ) is the premiere certifying organization for interior design professionals. CIDQ develops and administers the three-part NCIDQ Examination, which tests interior designers’ knowledge of core competencies required for professional practice in the industry. The exam is based on CIDQ’s independent, comprehensive analysis of the profession and the daily practice of interior design in a range of settings. CIDQ continually updates the exam’s contents to ensure it reflects the most current skills required to design secure, functional and innovative interior spaces.

CIDQ is composed of regulatory boards from across the United States and Canada. As such, the organization takes seriously its responsibility to protect the public’s health, safety and welfare. 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. Passage of the exam is a requirement for licensure, certification or registration in all CIDQ member jurisdictions. The exam also serves as a qualifier for professional membership within interior design organizations (ASID, IIDA, IDC) and, for non-affiliates, represents a significant, voluntary professional achievement.

NCIDQ Certification is the recognized hallmark of a highly qualified interior designer, assuring interior designers are competent to meet industry standards not only for aesthetics but also for public health, safety and welfare. To date, more than 30,000 people around the world have earned NCIDQ Certification.

Certificate holders[edit]

While CIDQ does not offer membership to individuals, professional interior designers can become Certificate holders by completing the examination process. Individuals who meet CIDQ's eligibility requirements and pass all required sections of the NCIDQ Examination are each assigned a unique NCIDQ Certificate number. Certificate holders who pay an annual Certificate Renewal fee receive exclusive Active Certificate holder benefits.


Successful completion of the NCIDQ Examination is a prerequisite for professional registration in those American states and Canadian provinces that have enacted licensing or certification statutes to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public.


Representatives from state/provincial regulatory agencies are appointed to serve as delegates on the CIDQ Council of Delegates for two-year terms.

Beyond the Council's responsibilities for conducting and jurying the examination in locations throughout North America, it is charged with defining, researching and updating bodies of knowledge, conducting field surveys, analyzing candidate performance, evaluating subject areas and item validity, developing and pretesting questions and problems, improving score reporting processes, implementing grading and jurying procedures, reviewing education and practice requirements, and identifying public health, safety and welfare issues.


Conceived in the late 1960s to serve as a basis for issuing credentials to today's professional interior design practitioner, the Council has been in effect since 1972. It was formalized as a not-for-profit organization when it was incorporated in 1974. Originally founded by the American Institute of Interior Designers (AID) and the National Society of Interior Designers (NSID), two national organizations that were then preparing to merge into what became the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). All national design organizations, whose membership was made up in total or in part of interior designers, were asked to join. Now a fully independent organization, CIDQ develops and delivers the NCIDQ Examination, twice each year to help ensure the health, safety and welfare of the public are protected in the practice of interior design.


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