NCIDQ Exam Eligibility Requirements

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  • Download a visual summary of the eligibility routes!
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    Experience Information!

EDUCATION: Formal interior design education is an essential foundation for a successful practice. Because of this, you must have completed most or all of your education before you start to accrue qualified work experience.

All eligible coursework must be taken for college credit; CIDQ doesn't accept continuing education, audited or non-credit courses. The NCIDQ Exam evaluates education based on a review of your college or university transcripts.

Interior Design education gained from abroad can qualify for the exam. Transcripts must be translated and evaluated by an education evaluator like World Education Services and can be eligible if the evaluation matches one of the education requirements listed below.

If you have an architectural education accredited by NAAB or CACB, you may meet our educational requirements. The only degrees that meet this requirement are the B. Arch and M. Arch degrees.

If you have a B.S. or B.A. in architecture you can now sit for the exam under Route 7

If you hold a B.S, B.A., certification, degree or diploma in architectural studies, architectural technology, architectural history, or similar fields, you must also complete a formal program in interior design that includes at least 60 semester hours of interior-design-related coursework.

For those seeking registration in Nevada that lack the required degree from a CIDA accredited school, there is a review program to assess CIDA educational equivalency. This program, endorsed by the Nevada State Board of Architecture, Interior Design & Residential Design (NSBAIDRD) and administered by the Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ), is known as the Nevada Alternative Application Review Program (NAARP). More information on this program, available only to those seeking Nevada Interior Design Registration, is available here.


All of the work experience you use to satisfy the eligibility requirements must be related to interior design. Work experience can be full-time or part-time. To ensure that all of your work experience counts, we recommend working under the direct supervision of one of the following: an NCIDQ Certification holder, a registered interior designer, or an architect who offers interior design services. Educators can now use teaching experience to qualify for the exam. Please see here for more information.

If you began accruing interior design work experience for the first time after January 1, 2008, you must obtain qualified work experience to earn an NCIDQ Certification. Whether or not your work experience qualifies depends on which route you take to enter the process.

•  When your direct supervisor is an NCIDQ Certification holder, a licensed/registered interior designer, or an architect who offers interior design services, all of your qualified hours count.

•  When you work in other supervisory relationships, your hours accrue at lower values. How much qualified work experience you need depends on factors such as the amount of education you've had and the type of qualified work experience you've received.

NOTE: If you began accumulating your interior design work experience on or before December 31, 2007, all of your work hours apply, even if you did not work under an NCIDQ Certification holder, a licensed/registered interior designer or an architect. That includes all of the hours that you were self-employed. All work experience verification forms must still be completed to prove work experience.

Eligibility Routes: Education and Experience Combinations

The amount of combined education and work experience you need depends on factors that are detailed here. There are seven different routes for determining when you are eligible to apply to take the NCIDQ Exam. Please click on the link to see these options.