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What Is Interior Design Certification?

To work as a professional interior designer, certification is important. While your state might not require certification or licensure, many states do. Your potential clients and employers often look for certification. Keep reading to learn what interior design certification means and how you can become certified.

Interior Design Certification Defined

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), not all states require licensure, registration or certification (www.bls.gov). Regardless of state requirements, many interior designers are certified through the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ). Depending on the state, successful candidates earn registered, licensed or certified interior designer titles. Additionally, professional organizations, including the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), require NCIDQ certification for membership.

The NCIDQ qualifying exam tests your knowledge of health codes, safety practices and professional standards, showing your clients that you're able to meet their needs. Additionally, membership in professional organizations gives you access to referrals, networking events and continuing education opportunities. The NCIDQ certification is an industry standard.

Important Facts About Interior Designers

Median Annual Salary (2018) $53,370
Number of Jobs in the Field (2016) 66,500
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 4%
Projected Employment (2026) 69,500
Similar Occupations Fashion designer, architect, art director and floral designer
Key Skills Visualization, creativity, artistic ability, problem-solving and interpersonal skills and an eye for detail

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

NCIDQ Certification

The NCIDQ requires you to complete six years of combined education and work experience to sit for the exam. The Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) accredits interior design programs that meet their standards of professionalism and quality. You can gain work experience through the NCIDQ's Interior Design Experience Program, though any work experience in the interior design industry fulfills the requirement.

To meet the NCIDQ educational requirements, you can earn an associate's, bachelor's or master's degree in interior design. Undergraduate programs in interior design teach you to use computer-aided drafting (CAD) software, understand clients' needs and adhere to building codes. You learn about textiles, furniture, lighting and other fixtures. If you have a bachelor's degree in another field or want to expand your expertise, you can earn a master's degree in interior design.

Additional Requirements

The BLS stated that interior designers face competition in securing employment and finding clients. Specializing in a particular area of interior design can open up a market niche in areas, including kitchen and bath design. The National Kitchen & Bath Association accredits educational programs and offers professional certification to those who meet education and work experience requirements (www.nkba.org).

Although the NCIDQ doesn't require continuing education credits to retain your certified status, your state or other organizations might require these credits to maintain your membership, licensure, registration or certification. You can find online and in-person continuing education opportunities through the NCIDQ and professional organizations.