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NCIDQ Exam - Interior Designer Certification for Design

Updated on September 16, 2015


The NCIDQ exam is for individuals that have previously completed interior design schooling and who wish to seek an interior designer certification. NCIDQ stands for National Council for Interior Design Qualification. As of 2010, 26 states in the USA and several Canadian provinces require individuals to successfully pass the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam to practice interior design. Those who wish to join organizations, such as American Society of Interior Designers, also require passing the NCIDQ exam to become a member. If you’re wondering what the NCIDQ exam entails or are looking for helpful resources, you’ll find all of the information on this page to help you become certified so that you can start your career in interior design.

Eligibility to Take the NCIDQ Exam by Degrees in Interior Design

Individuals wishing to take the NCIDQ exam that already hold a bachelor’s degree must have at least 3,250 hours of work experience completed before applying to take the test. A total of 180 quarter credits with a minimum of 90 credits exclusively in interior design must also be completed for eligibility. For those who attended schools that offered semester credits, 120 total credits must be completed with at least 60 of those hours specifically in interior design.

Those who hold an associate’s degree in interior design must have a total of 5,280 hours of work experience. Individuals who possess an interior designing associate’s degree must also hold quarter crediting that totals a minimum of 90 with all credits in interior designing. Semester schooling credits must total 60 with all credits in the degree field.

Interior designers who hold a certificate must have at least 7,040 work experience hours under his or her belt to be eligible for the NCIDQ examination. Semester students are required to hold 40 credits in interior designing. However, those who have attended schooling that offered certificates by quarter credits must have a total of 60 or more credits.

What the NCIDQ Exam Questions Are Like

The NCIDQ examination consists of 300 total questions that are multiple choice that are broken into two parts. The final part consists of a problem that the interior designer must provide that he or she can solve. Individuals may take each part separately or all together at his or her preference. The NCIDQ exam covers six parts to interior design. Those parts are: professional practicing, administering contracts, documenting contracts, development of design, basic programming and schematic design.

NCIDQ Exam Fees

As of 2010, the NCIDQ examination costs $835 for all three sections of the test if you take the entire test on the same day. If you want to take each section on different days then expect to pay $250 for the first section, $250 for the second and $385 for the third. What about if you are a late registration? Expect to pay an additional $125 or $35 to defer the test if something comes up where you won’t be able to attend to take the exam. What about if you decide to cancel taking the NCIDQ? The first section will only be reimbursed for $100, the second at $125 and the third for $150.

When is the NCIDQ Exam Given?

The NCIDQ examination is traditionally given twice a year. Early spring such as March or April is generally the first time during a calendar year when the exam is given. The second time is generally offered in September or October. Applying to take the exam must be done several months in advance (3 or 4) to avoid the late registration fee that is applied by the National Council for Interior Design Qualification.

NCIDQ Exam Test Locations & Preparation

Just about every state and several Canadian provinces offer locations to take the NCIDQ examination. Generally the tests are in major metropolitan areas and may change yearly. The best way to find out when the NCIDQ exam is being offered near you is to contact the National Council for Interior Design Qualification at 202-721-0220. The organization also offers study materials for the NCIDQ exam through they website. Type in to access the organization’s website to retrieve the guides to help you study and receive an Interior Designer Certification. 


American Society of Interior Designers

National Council for Interior Design Qualification


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