What is the NCIDQ exam?

To become a certified interior designer in the United States, you’ll need to take the NCIDQ (National Council for Interior Design Qualification) exam. The NCIDQ is administered by the CIDQ, which stands for Council of Interior Design Qualification, and is currently the only nationally-recognized competency exam for interior design. Obtaining your NCIDQ Certification recognizes your proficiency in interior design principles and your commitment to the profession.

The NCIDQ ensures the safety and wellbeing of the public by requiring that design professionals are held to the highest standards in the industry. The content of the exam represents the foundational knowledge you need to be able to branch out into a specialty design area afterwards. The NCIDQ exam consists of three sections: the Fundamentals Exam (IDFX), the Professional Exam (IDPX), and the Practicum Exam (PRAC 2.0). Each section focuses on public health, safety and welfare. 


What are the benefits of taking the NCIDQ exam?

Passing the NCIDQ opens doors for you professionally. You'll likely receive a salary increase and a promotion, and be able to branch out into specific areas of interest that you may not have had the opportunity to explore before. Your design firm might even offer bonuses for passing the exam. Through certification, you show a high level of commitment to the interior profession, a thirst for achievement, as well as proven knowledge of current standards established to protect public health, safety and welfare, and mastery of aesthetic considerations. Candidates who are certified are usually the first ones to be hired, the most sought-after, and the best paid.


Wondering where to start?

Check to make sure that you've fulfilled all requirements to qualify to take the exam. Then let your employer know your plans. They might offer you mentorship from a certified designer on your team or even reimburse your exam fees or costs of preparation. You’ll also want to review important dates and deadlines for applying and signing up for exams.

If you’re ready to start preparing for your NCIDQ exam, start by selecting review material and setting time aside for studying. Looking for more information? Learn more about the NCIDQ exam in our NCIDQ Resource Center.


More Information on the NCIDQ Exam

Find all the information you need to pass your NCIDQ exam in the NCIDQ Resource Center. 

NCIDQ Exam Tips for All Three Divisions

"The NCIDQ exam covers a very broad range of interior design subjects. This means your study most likely can’t include every practice area that could possibly come up."

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What to Expect from IDFX

"Aim to finish each question in no more than 1 minute 15 seconds. This will leave a reserve of about 20 minutes to guess unanswered questions at the end of the exam session."

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What to Expect from IDPX

"If a question appears to be fundamentally flawed, make the best choice possible under the circumstances. Flawed questions do not appear often on the exam, but when they do, they are usually discovered by the council in the grading process."

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