Certification Leads to Higher Incomes, Report Shows

Good news for those pursuing the NCIDQ Certification: Earning this credential can translate into significantly higher earnings, according to a 2014 report from the U.S. Census Bureau.

In the first study to link hard data on certification and income, the Census Bureau found that people who received a professional certification above and beyond a college or university degree earned nearly 22 percent more than those with just an academic degree, and about 34 percent more than those without any professional or educational credentials.

The data underscore the importance of the NCIDQ Certification in differentiating the most competent and qualified interior designers from their non-certified counterparts, says Dr. Carol Williams-Nickelson, executive director for the Council for Interior Design Qualification, Inc. (CIDQ), which oversees the development and administration of the NCIDQ Exam.

“Our mission of protecting the public by identifying and then testing an appropriately educated and experienced interior designer’s competencies in health, safety and public 
welfare is at the forefront in all of our test development and certification activities," she says. "There are strong, longstanding trends suggesting that people who hire interior designers seek out those who are NCIDQ Certified and are willing to pay more for that quality assurance.”

The 2014 report provides strong external support for findings from a 2011 document called “The Interior Design Profession’s Body of Knowledge and Its Relationship to People’s Health, Safety and Welfare." Issued by six major design organizations and based on interviews with 1,578 experienced interior designers, the report concluded that  interior design can have a positive impact on public health safety and welfare in several specific ways. (See the 2011 report at www.careersininteriordesign.org.)

The Census Bureau study combined with the earlier findings should be good incentive for interior design students to successfully complete the NCIDQ Exam and Certification process, Williams-Nickelson notes.

“Not only is the Certification a source of pride, recognition and competency,” she says, "it can also be a vehicle for higher earnings.”

  1. U.S. Census Bureau. (2014, January). “Measuring Alternative Educational Credentials: 2012” Retrieved Feb. 25, 2014, from http://www.census.gov/prod/2014pubs/p70-138.pdf.

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CIDQ is the global leader in establishing standards of competence for interior design professionals. To learn more, visit www.ncidq.org.

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