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About the NCIDQ Exam

May 1, 2021
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Investing in your interior design career by taking the NCIDQ exam is a big decision.  Here is information you need to know to get started down the path to being a certified interior design professional.

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.

Who administers the NCIDQ Exam?

The NCIDQ exam is administered by the Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ)—the certifying organization for interior design professionals.

What is the NCIDQ exam structure?

The NCIDQ exam is divided into three sections: the Interior Design Fundamentals exam (IDFX), the Interior Design Professional exam (IDPX), and the Interior Design Practicum (PRAC 2), which are all administered by computer and machine graded. All three exams are available to take throughout the entire month of April and October. Learn more about each exam here:

What are the current NCIDQ pass rates?

NCIDQ Exam 2019 Pass Rates:


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 materials and setting time aside for studying.

Ready to ace the NCIDQ exam?

Enroll Now

Industry Insights

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Eligibility Requirements for the NCIDQ Exam
Want to take the NCIDQ exam but not sure what you need to do first? Become familiar with the requirements.
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About the PRAC 2.0 Section of the NCIDQ Exam
Learn more about the format and the question types of the PRAC 2.0 exam.
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About the Interior Design Fundamentals (IDFX) Exam Division of NCIDQ
Learn more about the content areas and the structure of the IDFX exam.