Interior Design: Understanding the profession and the value of NCIDQ CertificationMarch 2, 2023
RLPS recently celebrated an interiors team member passing the National Certification for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam and earning his professional competency and expertise in the trade. If you’re unfamiliar with the industry, you might not understand the importance of this milestone.
Stacy Hollinger Main, RLPS partner, shares that
“anyone who studies Interior Design should value his/her education enough to take the next step in the process which is [NCIDQ] examination. At RLPS, one of our missions is to help mentor young people in both architecture and interior design to take the leap into being a professional. This is one of the key goals of our practice – to cultivate personal development. Interior Design is a young profession, so it is imperative that we also educate the public to the level of standards that NCIDQ Certificate holders possess.”
While some professions are centuries old, the term “interior decorator” was first used in the United States in the early 1900s. It was not until the 1980s that the first legislation was passed about interior design. Certifications like the NCIDQ help provide structure and accountability for the interior design profession. But what exactly is the NCIDQ Certification and why is it valuable to professionals and project owners?
What is the NCIDQ Certification?
According to the Council for Interior Design Qualifications (CIDQ) website, the “NCIDQ Certification is the industry’s recognized indicator of proficiency in interior design principles and a designer’s commitment to the profession.” An interior designer who holds this certificate has passed a series of rigorous, objective exams to prove his/her expertise in understanding and applying codes created to protect public health, safety and welfare.
RLPS interior designer, Matthew Funk Barley, recently passed his NCIDQ exam. He shares that the content covered on the exam is everyday knowledge such as understanding contracts, codes and construction documents. At RLPS, 92% of our interior design staff either holds the NCIDQ Certification or is currently undertaking the examination process.
Does the NCIDQ exam meet legal standards?
The NCIDQ Certification adheres to legal and regulatory standards for the interior design profession as established by more than half of the states across the United States. The CIDQ website provides a visualization of different types of regulations adopted by each North American jurisdiction.
What is the role of an NCIDQ interior designer?
The role of an NCIDQ Certified interior designer is multi-faceted and spans a project’s timeline. The CIDQ website states that “interior designers contribute to the interior environment with knowledge and skills about space planning; interior building materials and finishes; casework, furniture, furnishings, and equipment; lighting; acoustics; wayfinding; ergonomics and anthropometrics; and human environmental behavior.” Anthropometrics is the science of understanding the human body as it relates to the design of furniture.
NCIDQ Certified interior designers provide direction for surface level changes to an interior environment. They also analyze, plan, design, document and manage interior non-structural construction and renovation projects. The graphic on the right, from the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) website, provides a visual representation of the role of an NCIDQ Certified interior designer compared to an architect.
Jessie Shappell, a senior interior designer at RLPS, is an ongoing volunteer and former board member of the CIDQ. in 2018 she participated in an advocacy roundtable about interior design. She shares that “the professional responsibilities of NCIDQ Certified interior designers parallel those of registered architects” and will help shape a project from start to finish.
What is the value of hiring an NCIDQ Certified interior designer?
An NCIDQ Certified interior designer is an integral member of a project team. As Jessie Shappell puts it, “When an interior designer is involved from project conception to completion, clients benefit from a holistically designed and coordinated interior that greatly benefits the owner and all building occupants.”
When considering hiring an interior designer, look for a qualified professional with the NCIDQ Certification. The value of hiring an NCIDQ Certified interior designer means the owner can trust that the professional will adhere to industry and legal standards. It also means that he/she has the knowledge and skills necessary to create a welcoming, safe and beautiful environment.
The NCIDQ Certification is a valuable accreditation for interior design professionals.
“While the examination process is difficult and involves emotional highs and lows,” says Matthew Funk Barley, “the sense of accomplishment that comes with the completed process is worth it.”
Interested in learning more about the interior design profession? Check out these videos from the CIDQ and this joint report from the CIDQ and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards.
Interested in learning more about the history of interior design? Check out our blog highlighting pioneers of the industry.
Stacy Hollinger Main, IIDA, Partner, leads the RLPS Interiors team. A graduate of the University of Delaware, Stacy has 28 years of commercial design experience. Stacy appreciates any opportunities to apply her interior design background to help our clients and friends create joyful environments!
Blog Editor, Erin Harclerode
Making the Case for Biophilic DesignOctober 31, 2022
Student Housing Updates: 3 Reasons to RenovateMarch 13, 2022
As college and universities work to regain lost ground due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many face the reality of deferred student housing updates. Lingering uncertainties related to infection control, along with shifting demographics and student expectations heighten the need for action. Based on data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, undergraduate enrollment declined by about 3.5% in fall 2021 from the previous year.
Future-Ready Classroom Design: From Concept to ClassroomNovember 3, 2021
Despite massive changes in 21st century technology and lifestyle, student-centered teaching and pedagogy evolution, K-12 classrooms today look and operate much the same as they did in the prior century. Teacher-centric, row and column classroom structure, and associated furniture types, still widely dominate, mirroring the oratory-based ideologies of over 4,000 years ago. Future-ready classroom design is now ready to move from concept to the classroom.
Campus Residence Hall Renovations: What’s Old is New AgainOctober 14, 2021
Decreased funding, slowing enrollment, overwhelming student debt, and higher operating costs are just some of the challenges facing higher education. Now we must also take into consideration all of the realities that will shake out on campuses following a pandemic. Recruiting and retaining students is vital. Campus housing is a valuable marketing tool to attract students and keep them living on campus. Residence hall renovations preserve campus character and eliminate costly additional land development. These critical campus updates also convert existing housing into a valuable asset while promoting sustainability.
SEEING IS BELIEVING: The Power of Design Renderings to Share Your StoryOctober 12, 2021
The advent of Building Information Modelling (BIM) has opened a whole new range of possibilities for three-dimensional digital design renderings. Not so long ago, when we wanted to share a new building or renovation design concept with our clients (and often their clients), the options were limited. We could either provide a hand sketch or three-dimensional physical building model, using clay, paper, foamcore, wood or other materials. The result was often beautiful and effective for sharing the project vision. But it was also time consuming, static and, relatively speaking, a costly added expense. These realities limited the use of these methodologies.
BACK TO SCHOOL: Design for In-Person Learning During a PandemicSeptember 19, 2021
This fall, millions of K-12 and college students headed back to school amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Determining best practices for navigating this return has been challenging for administrators, teachers, students, and families alike. Design for in-person learning during a pandemic requires both flexibility and creativity. To that end, a number of manufacturers have developed innovative furniture and other classroom products to help K-12 school, colleges and universities quickly adapt to changing conditions and social distancing needs.
Our team does not endorse any one product or manufacturer. The following is an overview of some of the products we have found while helping our clients review available options. Many of these offer benefits not only for today’s continually evolving safety priorities, but also for adaptable learning spaces beyond the current pandemic realities.
3 Reasons Interior Designer Credentialing MattersJanuary 29, 2021
Interior designer credentialing reflects a commitment to the highest professional standards. Our firm focuses on senior living and educational facilities. Interior designers must put the health, safety and welfare of the people living, learning and working in those spaces at the forefront of design decisions. As we look forward to a post-COVID future, physical space impacts on health and well-being take on increased significance.
Starting with the Basics: Interior Design Professionals
Although sometimes used interchangeably with interior decorating, the interior design profession requires specialized education and training. Interior design professionals typically earn a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in interior design and/or architecture, have worked in the field for two or more years, and hold National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) certification. The current exam encompasses seven core competencies of interior design: building systems, codes, construction standards, contract administration, design application, professional practice and project coordination. The NCIDQ examination is regularly updated to reflect current knowledge required to design safe, functional and innovative interior spaces.
Biophilic Design for LearningSeptember 30, 2020
Despite the documented benefits of getting outside and experiencing nature firsthand, students spend most of the day indoors and a growing proportion of that time is spent staring at a computer screen. This reality reinforces the value of applying biophilic design principles to a new school building or campus renovation to create a better learning environment for students.
Biophilic Design Defined
Biophilic design has received growing attention in recent years. The idea that nature connections help to inspire, calm and nurture us almost seems like common sense. Biologist Edward O. Wilson, who literally wrote the book “Biophilia,” describes our innate tendency to affiliate with nature.
Biophilic design acknowledges this reality and focuses on strategies to increase occupant connections to the natural environment. This is achieved through a combination of direct connections, simulated nature, and space and place conditions.
Digging into the DetailsJuly 29, 2019
When we think about interior design, we tend to focus on the visual aspects. Magazines, home improvement shows and retailers highlight “wow” spaces, focusing on the final touches and products deemed essential for beautiful results. Other aspects such as functionality, comfort, ergonomics, health or safety, are often an afterthought, if we consider them at all.