So You've Passed the NCIDQ Exam…Now What?
Are you planning on getting your interior design license? With more than half the states in the US, Puerto Rico, and the Canadian Provinces having some form of interior design legislation, it's essential to understand how this makes a difference.
Registered, licensed, or certified interior designers can sign, seal, and submit drawings for permitting in some states. Also, having your NCIDQ certificate can help you earn more— up to 34% more. Earning your certificate helps differentiate you from others in the interior design marketplace.
Earning your NCIDQ Certificate is a prerequisite for earning your interior design license or registration, but there is also an application process and other steps to take. Qpractice can help you navigate these waters, and we walk you through several examples below.
To use your NCIDQ Certificate as a way to earn your interior design license and expand your horizons as a certified or registered interior designer, you must first fill out a (rather lengthy) application. Fortunately, there is something applicants can do to shorten the following state registration process.
Step 1: Research Your State Interior Design Laws
Because the NCIDQ application will be the same no matter where you take it, your first step is to determine the variable – your home state's requirements. For example, some states do not grant you an interior design license. So instead, you'll become a “registered” or “certified interior designer.”
Please research this first while you're registering for your exams, as your state may have more requirements than CIDQ does. Some states, such as Texas, may require you to start your NCIDQ Application through the state.
While both ASID and IIDA have done a great job of compiling state data, understanding these laws and regulations and how they apply to your unique situation is ultimately your responsibility.
Once you have your state's application information, you can now begin filling out both forms together.
Where to find out the interior design laws in your jurisdiction
Note that changes in regulation around interior design licensing and certification are changing all of the time, so you'll need to verify and keep up with the changing laws in your area.
Interior Designers of Canada, see “Our allies”
Step 2: Complete the Applications
The first step in getting your interior design certification is completing forms and applications. Collecting the exact number of copies of transcripts and other required information at once is far less stressful than trying to get the same documentation twice. Typical licensing requirements include professional recommendations, official transcripts, and various forms of work verification.
If you live in a state with a protected title for interior design, this will also be where you find the application process to use that protected title. Besides having an Interior Design License or Certification, it's also important to understand the correct usage of your designation, just like the proper use for your NCIDQ appellation.
Step 3: Mail-In or Submit Online
Don't state licensing boards need your NCIDQ scores?
The answer is yes, but that doesn't mean your application goes into the trash without your scores. Instead, the state will hold the application, noting that your scores are needed, or you may see the term “deficient” when you review the status of your application online.
Upon completion, you can follow the process on CIDQ's website to your certification with your passing the NCIDQ. But you do need to confirm this process and follow up on it.
Need a copy of your certificate or need to verify your results? Download it from your MyNCIDQ account here:
Tips to Get Your Interior Design License or Registration
We've had many Qpractice members go through getting their license or registration after passing the NCIDQ Exam, so we've decided to share some of their experiences with you to help make it easier.
Note that state legislation and processes are constantly changing, so be sure to research and follow the requirements of YOUR jurisdiction.
Example Interior Design Registration application process #1
The state of Florida, Registered Interior Designer
Florida has recently changed from “Licensed” to “Registered,” so there are now 4 different paths:
- Interior Designer – Professional Licensure for Military Personnel/Veterans/Military Spouses (MVL 003)
- Interior Designer – Initial by Registration (ID 1)
- Interior Designer – Registration by Endorsement (ID 4)
- Architect Seeking a Separate Interior Designer Registration (AR 4)
- Complete the online application at the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation or print it and send it in.
- Submit a non-refundable fee. You may pay this online or mail-in check.
- Submit proof of passing the NCIDQ. Then, go to your myNCIDQ account, click “Verify Your Credential Online,” and follow the instructions.
- Follow any other application instructions based upon the specific path chosen.
Once you fill out the initial application, you will receive an application number – make sure to write that on all information you send in by mail.
Example Certificate Application process #2
Ariane Laxo, State of Minnesota, Certified Interior Designer
- Download application from Minnesota Board of Architecture, Engineering, Land Surveying, Landscape Architecture, Geoscience, and Interior Design
- Complete the application and send it to the Board. The application includes (1) One signed and dated copy of the Rules of Professional Conduct, a list of your professional work experience verifying experience in all content areas required, and one page that must be signed and witnessed by a notary public.
- Request an official transcript to be sent to the Board from the college or university where you received your degree. In Minnesota, graduation from a four-year CIDA accredited program is required. More information on education requirements in the State of Minnesota can be found in Statute 1800.2100. Whenever requesting a transcript, remember that it must be sent directly to the recipient, unopened.
- Include (5) recommendations, with a minimum of (3) from Certified Interior Designers. At least (2) of your recommendations must come from employers who can verify the work experience you list in your application.
- Verify passage of the NCIDQ exam. Go to your myNCIDQ account, click “Verify Your Credential Online,” and follow the instructions.
Example Diversified Work Experience process #3
State of Minnesota, Certified Interior Designer
Calie Pierce also became a Certified Interior Designer in Minnesota. She works for a small design firm with the owner and one assistant and is the only one that has taken the exam. So it was vital for her to be that supervisor for future assistants to have an easier time obtaining their CID license after completing their exams.
Getting recommendations as listed above was no longer required, but she had to work through meeting the tricky educational and experience requirements:
Experience must be diversified in the practice of interior design for public spaces and include all ten of the following knowledge areas, documented as required by the Board:
- space planning
- building code research and analysis
- schematic design and design development
- preparation of construction documents
- cost estimating
- specification of building materials and finishes;
- specification of furnishings, fixtures, and equipment;
- bidding/negotiating procedures
- construction administration
Remember, it's easiest when you start before you pass the NCIDQ Exam.
Much of the paperwork you'll need to get your interior design license, certification, or registration is similar to what you need when applying to take the NCIDQ Exam.
Save time later by reviewing this for your state and requesting multiple copies of your transcripts and work records as you need them. We hope this gives you an idea of the process for your state – it's likely pretty similar. At least now you'll know where to start to find out more information.
It's always better to start the process sooner, so you can find out what information YOU need to collect.
Good Luck! And remember, at Qpractice, we're here to help you on your journey:)
Want to share your state's process or challenges?
Or have other questions? Just send me an email~Lisa