December 4, 2023

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CIDQ | Certification for Interior Designers | NCIDQ Exam

CIDQ | Certification for Interior Designers | NCIDQ Exam

The Value of NCIDQ Certification

NCIDQ Certification is the industry’s recognized indicator of proficiency in interior design principles and a designer’s commitment to the profession.
Professional interior designers who possess the NCIDQ Certification have distinguished themselves by demonstrating a specific set of core competencies, supported by verified work experience and a college degree. They have proven their expertise in understanding and applying current codes established to protect public health, safety and welfare. They are passionate about their profession and dedicated to its recognition and integrity.
The NCIDQ Examination is the broad-based exam for all interior designers and serves as the foundation from which to build for those moving into specialty design areas. NCIDQ Certification is required for the practice of many types of interior design in regulated jurisdictions throughout North America.  Certification enables designers to easily validate their knowledge, experience and skill to employers and clients alike. Designers certified through the NCIDQ Examination gain wide industry visibility and recognition. They are members of a select but growing community—more than 30,000 strong—that offers the opportunity to network with other highly qualified industry experts.
The strenuous requirements of the NCIDQ Examination give clients and employers added confidence in the caliber of work from NCIDQ Certified designers. The exam covers seven areas that capture the core competencies of interior design: building systems, codes, construction standards, contract administration, design application, professional practice and project coordination. The exam’s contents are regularly updated to ensure they reflect the most current knowledge required to design safe, functional and innovative interior spaces.

NCIDQ Certification Earned Through Examination

To earn certification, qualified interior designers can apply to take the NCIDQ Examination. After CIDQ approves their eligibility, candidates register for each of the three sections of the exam and must pass each section within a specified time-frame. The exam is continually updated to ensure it aligns with the most current professional knowledge necessary to design spaces that are innovative, functional and safe.


The three separate sections of the NCIDQ Exam are: the Fundamentals Exam (IDFX), the Professional Exam (IDPX), and the Practicum Exam (PRAC).  All three sections focus entirely on public health, safety and welfare. For details on the individual exams, see both the EXAMS webpage and the Practicum Exam webpage found on this CIDQ website.

To ensure the NCIDQ Exam tests interior designers’ understanding of concepts crucial to the field, CIDQ undertakes a practice analysis of the interior design profession every five to seven years. The most recent practice analysis, completed in 2019, was based on information gathered through an online survey of more than 700 interior designers. A panel of experts in the field analyzed those results with our partners at our testing company and provided guidance on core competencies to cover. Updated analysis ensures that the most important topics, the profession’s core competencies, are covered in the three sections of the NCIDQ Exam.

The NCIDQ Exams cover seven distinct areas that capture the core competencies of interior design:

Building Systems  Codes  /  Construction Standards  /  Contract Administration

Design Application  Professional Practice  /  Project Coordination

NCIDQ: The Mark of a Professional ®

CIDQ  /  NCIDQ EXAM         225 REINEKERS LANE, SUITE 210        ALEXANDRIA VA 22314         202-721-0220       

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