NCIDQ Certificate Eligibility Requirements

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NCIDQ maintains minimum education and work experience requirements for eligibility to earn the NCIDQ Certificate.

Education: Because formal interior design education builds an essential foundation for successful practice, most or all of your education must be completed before you accrue qualified interior design work experience. All coursework used to satisfy the eligibility requirements must be taken for college credit; continuing education, audit and non-credit courses will not be accepted. NCIDQ evaluates education based on a review of college or university transcripts and, when necessary, copies of course descriptions from the college or university catalog in force at the beginning of coursework.

If you have an architectural education accredited by NAAB or CACB, you can meet our educational requirements. The only degrees that meet this requirement are B. Arch and M. Arch. If you completed four years of a five- or six-year program and earned a B.S. or B.A. in architecture, you do not qualify under this route. If you have a B.S. or B.A. in architecture, or any certificate, degree or diploma in architectural studies, architectural technology, architectural history, environmental design or other field, you would have to complete a formal program in interior design that contains at least 40 semester hours of interior-design-related coursework to meet our educational requirements.

If you have architectural education that was acquired outside the United States or Canada, please read NCIDQ's position on foreign architectural education.

Work Experience: All work experience used to satisfy the eligibility requirements must be interior design-related. Work experience may be full-time or part-time. NCIDQ recommends working under the direct supervision of an NCIDQ Certificate holder, a registered interior designer or an architect who offers interior design services to ensure that 100% of your work experience counts. NCIDQ does not accept teaching as interior design work experience.

Eligibility Routes: Education and Experience Combinations

The amount of combined education and work experience required depends on certain characteristics of each. NCIDQ has developed six eligibility routes for determining when you are eligible to apply earn the NCIDQ Certificate. Please note that NCIDQ does not grant exceptions to the eligibility criteria and does not review portfolios, client lists, endorsements or any other material submitted in lieu of college transcripts or work history.

Click here to see the eligibility requirements for earning the NCIDQ Certificate.


Qualified Work Experience

If you began accruing interior design work experience for the first time after January 1, 2008, you must earn qualified work experience in order to earn an NCIDQ Certificate. When your work experience counts as qualified depends on which route you take for entry into the process.

When your direct supervisor is an NCIDQ Certificate holder, a licensed/registered interior designer or an architect who offers interior design services, your qualified hours are counted at 100%. When you work in other supervisory relationships, your hours accrue at lower values. How much qualified work experience is needed depends on a number of factors, including your education and what type of qualified work experience you received.

Important note: If you began accumulating interior design work experience on or before December 31, 2007, you did not have to work under an NCIDQ Certificate holder, licensed/registered interior designer or an architect in order to accrue 100% value for your work hours. You can count any hours that were self-employed at 100% provided you have a reference (such as a client or contractor) who can verify your work.

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