Interior decorators may be self-employed, or freelance, and charge an hourly rate for services or negotiate a contract amount for a specific job. Other interior decorators choose to work for a company, such as a design firm, furniture store or other material manufacturer. Regardless of where you work, you will have a business card. Adding a certification to your business card boasts your credentials and dedication to professionalism.
National Council for Interior Design Qualification
The National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) is one place to start. NCIDQ Certified interior designers have distinguished themselves by demonstrating a specific set of core interior design competencies, supported by verified work experience and a college degree. They have proven their knowledge of current standards established to protect public health, safety and welfare, as well as mastery of aesthetic considerations. They have earned the industry’s highest standard of proficiency in interior design principles by successfully passing their examination.
The Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ) administers the NCIDQ Exam. Interior designers must complete a minimum of six years of specialized education, work experience, and pass the three-part NCIDQ Exam. The specialized education includes a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree from a CIDA (Council for Interior Design Accreditation)-accredited program. Work experience requires 3,520 hours of qualified interior design experience. You can find other criteria at CIDQ.
Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist
The Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation program teaches technical, business management, and customer service skills. These are essential to competing in the fastest growing segment of the residential remodeling industry: home modifications for the aging-in-place. The certification provides the skills to help your clients make the right choices, and it gives you more security in the remodeling market niche that is continuing to grow in popularity. The National Association of Home Builders offers the program that consists of three required courses:
- Marketing and Communicating with the Aging in Place Client (CAPS I)
- Design Concepts for Livable Homes and Aging in Place (CAPS II)
- Business Management for Building Professionals
Certified Healthcare Interior Designer
Certified Healthcare Interior Designer credential means you are distinguished and qualified by education, examination, and work experience to practice healthcare interior design — which separates you from other architects, designers, decorators, and interior designers.
To be eligible for the CHID, you must have a minimum of three years of experience in healthcare interior design. You must also pass the NCIDQ exam and your portfolio must include at least three completed projects from the past five years. These projects are to depict a variety of healthcare spaces within Acute Care, Ambulatory Care, and/or Residential Healthcare Facilities. These projects may be broken out to the different department areas within the larger project, such as an Emergency Department or an Inpatient Med/Surgical Unit. Projects can be of new construction, additions, or renovation projects.
The National Association of the Remodeling Industry presents the Certified Remodelers (CR) designation. CRs possess expertise in a broad range of business management and technical skill areas, identifying them as well-rounded remodeling experts capable of managing all aspects of a remodeling project.
- Currently employed by or own a firm that derives at least 90% of its sales volume through remodeling work
- Minimum of five (5) years continuous experience in the remodeling industry
- Minimum of 16 hours of continuing education
For working professionals and students, membership in interior design organizations will enhance your career and education.
The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) is a community of people—designers, industry representatives, educators, and students—committed to interior design. Through education, knowledge sharing, advocacy, community building, and outreach, ASID strives to advance the interior design profession. Membership includes more than 12,000 students of interior design who participate via student chapters at colleges, universities, and design schools with two-year and four-year programs throughout the U.S.
The International Interior Design Association (IIDA) works to enhance quality of life through excellence in interior design and to advance interior design through knowledge, value, and community. The Association supports design professionals, industry affiliates, educators, students, firms, and their clients through our network of 15,000+ members across 58 countries. They advocate for advancements in education, design excellence, legislation, leadership, accreditation, and community outreach. These qualities increase the value and understanding of Interior Design as a profession.
The IIDA site provides Chapters by state and the listing of campuses where you can join/visit that particular chapter. For example, the New York Chapter claims to be one of the strongest in the nation. Their Student Membership provides students enrolled in an interior design program the resources they need for educational and professional development, that are not available on campus.