NCIDQ News: Protecting the Public


NCIDQ News: Protecting the Public

By Barbara Pallat

Changes to examination, experience and benefits make earning, maintaining NCIDQ status worthwhile for all.


In January 2005, NCIDQ announced changes to the eligibility requirements for the NCIDQ Examination. The biggest change required those who began their work experience in 2008 or later to complete that experience under a licensed/ registered interior designer or architect who offers interior design services. Although there are practitioners who have gained their experience through independent practice, NCIDQ believes that candidates must experience the diverse tasks of interior design and apply that knowledge under the direct supervision of a qualified design professional to fully understand their responsibilities to the public and the demands of professional practice. Supervised practice is an essential component to protect the public’s health, life safety and welfare. NCIDQ received feedback from its member boards and individuals regarding this requirement, specifically relating to those for whom this requirement may present a hardship due to remote locations, health or financial issues, or other reasons. NCIDQ acknowledged their concerns by implementing an “alternate supervision” clause, as well as responding to concerns about the order in which education and work experience must be gained.

Alternate Supervision
The "alternate supervision" policy is designed specifically for those who demonstrate that they are unable to meet the current policy. The exam applicant must have a contractual relationship with an interior design practitioner who is an NCIDQ Certificate Holder or who is recognized by a state or provincial regulatory agency as a licensed/registered interior designer or who is a registered architect who offers interior design services. The supervision may be periodic and distant, rather than daily and at the same location.

For alternate supervision to apply toward exam eligibility, an applicant must request approval from NCIDQ when applying for the examination. In addition to the regular application materials, the applicant must submit:

  • The basis for the hardship
  • Detailed records or log book identifying the hours and date of work experience, with identification of work tasks or assignments completed
  • A notarized letter from the individual providing the alternative supervision, dates of this supervision and verification of the credentials of the individual (full name, address, NCIDQ Certificate Number, copy of individual's jurisdiction license or registration). If the supervisor is a registered architect, a statement identifying the architectural practice to include the offering of interior design services must be included.
  • Additional fee of $150 for the special review.

Order of Education and Experience
While the changes enacted last year resulted in increased flexibility for applicants who follow alternative educational and career paths, these changes inadvertently restricted access to the exam for a few eligible candidates. The NCIDQ Board rectified that situation by opening a brief window for those who were following NCIDQ's policy before it was changed. The policy states: Individuals with acceptable education and experience may take the examination regardless of the order in which each was obtained. Applicants applying under this policy must apply before January 1, 2007. As of January 1, 2007 all work experience must follow education for those with less than a bachelor's degree.

Access To Reference Materials For Examination
For those taking the NCIDQ Examination, NCIDQ has recently added a list of examination reference materials to its Web site at as well as a direct link to for ease of purchase. Since most of the information tested in the examination pertains to a common body of knowledge (generic to the practice of interior design) and because the examination is practice-based, this additional information serves only as a supplement to an understanding of basic professional interior design knowledge.

Additional Benefits For Certificate Holders
NCIDQ has taken steps to assist Certificate Holders as well. Active Certificate holders enjoy more benefits than ever. If you are an active Certificate holder, you may already be aware of the new feature on our Web site that allows you to access your information online. In addition to making changes to your contact information, you can print continuing education transcripts whenever you need them. (Inactive and non-Certificate holders pay a $50 fee for each transcript.) We encourage you to take advantage of NCIDQ's continuing education tracking system. The fee that you pay helps offset the costs of administrative support of the Interior Design Continuing Education Council (IDCEC) and supports the work of the Foundation for Interior Design Education Research (FIDER).

These two organizations provide important services for interior designers and the profession. IDCEC promotes life-long learning and professional development for the profession by serving as a central entity for the sharing of continuing education information, approval and registration. To date, more than 4,000 IDCEC-approved continuing education courses have been taken by scores of interior design professionals in the United States and Canada seeking to fulfill their continuing education requirements for their professional organizations and jurisdictional mandates. FIDER provides the foundation for excellence in the interior design profession by setting standards for education and accrediting academic programs that meet those standards. As of July 2005 there are 145 FIDER-accredited professional programs.

If you are no longer an active Certificate holder, NCIDQ has eased the financial burden to reinstate your active status. Now you only need to update your information and pay the current year's annual maintenance fee ($40) plus this amount per year for each year you were inactive, up to a maximum of US$260. You no longer have to pay the $200 reinstatement fee, so if your record has lapsed for only a few years, it is significantly more affordable to reinstate. Now is the perfect time to reinstate your Certificate status, since NCIDQ is offering more features for its active Certificate Holders.

Protecting The Public Health, Life Safety and Welfare
NCIDQ's core purpose is "to protect the health, life safety and welfare of the public by establishing standards of competence in the practice of interior design." The new requirements do not dilute this purpose. We listen carefully to our constituents and weigh their concerns against our mission of public protection. For 31 years, NCIDQ has taken great pride in being responsive to the needs of practitioners while upholding our obligation to protect the public.

  • Barbara Pallat is president of NCIDQ. She has been a registered designer in Illinois since 1994 and is an NCIDQ Certificate Holder. She is the owner of Barbara Pallat Interiors outside Chicago, IL and specializes in design for both residential and contract projects. For information about NCIDQ, please visit


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