Interior Design Certification: NCIDQ Exam

Passing the NCIDQ exam is an important step in advancing your career.

Earn Your Interior Design Certification

When you're ready to get your interior design certification, passing the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam is your top priority. These things should help you become familiar with the NCIDQ certification exam subject matter. Knowing what to expect can help you be confident in your ability to pass.

Qualify to Take the NCIDQ Exam

Getting interior design certification through the NCIDQ is necessary for getting your professional license in many states and jurisdictions. To qualify to take the NCIDQ certification exam, you must have a combination of interior design education credit hours and work experience hours, as shown in the following table:

  Education Requirements Work Experience Requirements
1 CIDA-accredited bachelor's or master's degree

3,520 hours of qualified work experience (about two years full time)

2 Bachelor's or masters degree at a non-CIDA-accredited school, with 60 semester/90 quarter credits in interior design 3,520 hours of qualified work experience (about two years full time)
 3 For career-changers, bachelor's degree (minimum) in any major, plus 60 semester/90 quarter credits in interior design 3,520 hours of qualified work experience (about two years full time)
 4 Associate's degree with 60 semester/90 quarter credits in interior design 5,280 hours of qualified work experience (about three years full time)
 5 Associate's degree, certificate or diploma with 40 semester/60 quarter credits in interior design 7,040 hours of qualified work experience (about four years full time)
 6 Bachelor's or master's degree in architecture from a program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) or the Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB) 5,280 hours of qualified work experience (about three years full time)

What to Expect on the Exam

The NCIDQ certification exam consists of three parts and covers seven aspects of the interior design field:

  • Building Systems
  • Codes
  • Contract Administration
  • Construction Standards
  • Design Application
  • Professional Practice
  • Project Coordination

To complete the test, you must finish two multiple choice sections containing 150 questions (25 questions in each section will be unscored). The third section is a practicum in which you will be asked to demonstrate your ability to solve interior design problems.

NCIDQ offers the exam twice a year—once in the Spring and again in the Fall—in select cities across the U.S. and Canada. The test will span two days. The first day will cover the first two test sections, and the second day will cover the third section.

Next Step: Becoming a Licensed Interior Designer