Since January 1st 2012, new members must pass the NCIDQ exam in order to be able to use the title «Designer d’intérieur certifié APDIQ®».

The North American norm that which allows qualification  of professional interior designers is composed of  ” 3E ” : Education, Experience and Exam. This totals six (6) years of study and experience to become eligible for the three sections of exam.

This two (2) day exam covers all of the practical aspects of interior design which affect the public health, the safety and well being of the users, additional knowledge tests of professional business practice and management construction.

It is not mandatory to pass all three sections at the same time.

Anyone can remain provisional member for five years during which time he/she must pass the NCIDQ exam. After this period, everyone who does not successfully pass their exam will have their license suspended until the examination. French version of the NDCIQ exam is available as of 2015


Online registration begins approximately  three (3) months before the date of the next exam ( January/February for the spring and July/August for the fall exam).

Once your registration is approved, you will receive an email explaining you when and how to register and to complete your registration.

Make sure your e-mail address is up to date in your account “MyNCIDQ” in order to receive all important informations. CIDQ is not responsible for the informations sent to wrong e-mail address or for any unread emails.

For more information on exam dates visit NCIDQ website.

The prerequisites for the admission to the examination

To be admitted to the examination ou must follow the pathways listed on the NCIDQ website.

The alternative pathway:

In the case your courses were not recognized by CIDQ, but you are the provisional member at good standing at APDIQ, the association may recommend to CIDQ to admit you to the exam since your training has already been recognized by an admission committee. The CIDQ should then admit you to pass the exam, however even if you succeed, the body does not give you membership number and certificate.

The Council for interior design accreditation

The Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) is an independent, non-profit accrediting organization for interior design education programs at colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. For more than 35 years, this knowledge-driven organization has been passionately committed to the ongoing enrichment of the interior design profession through identifying, developing and promoting quality standards for the education of entry-level interior designers, and then encouraging, accrediting and supporting educational programs to aspire to those standards.

Through a process of program self-evaluation and peer review, accreditation promotes achievement of high academic standards, while making education more responsive to student and societal needs. The Council engages nearly 200 volunteers, all drawn from interior design practice and education, to carry out its work. More than 150 interior design programs are currently accredited by the Council, serving an estimated 20,000 students.

The Council for Interior Design Accreditation is recognized as a reliable authority on interior design education by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The CHEA-recognized scope of accreditation is professional-level interior design programs degree located in the United States and internationally.

Prepare for the NCIDQ exam

Two things to remember to help you prepare for your exam:

This is a test of minimum competences. The purpose of the exam is to protect public health, safety and welfare by demonstrating that you’re qualified and competent in those areas. There are no tricks or hidden agendas.

This is not like school test. At school, exams test your knowledge. NCIDQ exam tests you application of the knowledge.

More experience you have you are better prepared to pass the exam.

or more information visit NCDIQ website

Study material for the NCIDQ exam

We have outlined the content of the exam on our web site, so you can see exactly what will be tested.

  • IDFX (Interior Design Fundamentals Exam)
  • IDPX (Interior Design Professional Exam)
  • PRAC (Practicum Exam)

In addition, here are more ways you can prepare for the exam. Click on these links to jump to that section on the page below.

Practice Analysis

This document is essentially the blueprint our exam writers use when they write test questions. While much of this document is an overview of the technical analysis we performed in order to validate the exam, some people find that seeing what sorts of tasks are defined in today’s practice helps them focus their preparation efforts.

The most useful parts to you to use for preparation will be Appendix K and Appendix M. You can best use this information by first reading through all of the task areas for each section and highlighting the areas that are less familiar to you. Those will be the ones you want to spend the most time reviewing, reading and studying.

You may want to create a color-coded system – one color for the areas you know the least, a second color for the areas that you have some familiaritywith and a third color for the areas with which you are most comfortable. Thislist can then become your outline for studying examination content.

Download a PDF of this report for free.

NCIDQ Exam locations

For more information on  where the NCIDQ Practicum Examination is offered visit NCIDQ website.

For more information on exam fees, visit the NCIDQ web site.


IDEP program (Interior Design Experience Program)

Using the IDEP program to chronicle your work experience can help you keep your hours organized and categorized in one document. For most jurisdictions, your participation in IDEP is voluntary. However, be aware that state boards, provincial associations and employers may mandate enrollment in IDEP so that you produce a verifiable record demonstrating diversified interior design work experience as part of your preparation to take the NCIDQ Exam and earn the NCIDQ Certification. We urge you to be careful in selecting the work environment for your supervised experience to ensure that it exposes you to the core competencies you will need to demonstrate on the NCIDQ Exam.

How to Enroll

Once you decide on where you will obtain your supervised interior design work experience, you may enroll in IDEP by following these steps:

  • Create a MyNCIDQ account by clicking here.
  • Click on “Application and Time Log/Tracking” under the IDEP heading in the left menu of your MyNCIDQ account..
  • Create an online application.
  • Invite your supervisor(s) and/or mentor(s) by clicking on “Key Players,” followed by “Create A Relationship.”
  • Your application will be reviewed and, if you qualify, accepted.
  • After confirmation of your acceptance, you may begin logging all of the hours that you accrue during your work experience in thespecific competency areas listed.
  • You may document up to 3-months of previous acceptable work experience from the time your IDEP application was accepted.

Program Fees

Good news! IDEP is free for recent graduates. One way to increase your chances of successfully becoming NCIDQ Certified is to begin carefully recording your supervised work experience right after you graduate and have taken the IDFX, which is the first section of the NCIDQ Exam. Using the IDEP work hours log is a great way to record and organize your supervised work experience from the very start. We strongly urge you to be deliberate in the type of work experience you obtain so that it matches the competency areas listed on the IDEP log. This approach will help you gain the type of supervised work experience that will help you prepare for the next section of the NCIDQ Exam, the IDPX. Please note that IDEP is not a formal program monitored by NCIDQ Exam staff. Therefore, you will still need to submit the official Work Experience Verification Forms to complete your application for the three sections of the NCIDQ Exam.


You may submit your IDEP Work Hours Log to us for review after your supervisor has signed off, indicating that your log is accurate and complete. Supervision is an important part of your work experience and learning. Therefore, be sure that your supervisor understands that he or she must meet with you on a regular basis to discuss your work by providing feedback and exposing you to the competencies necessary for independent practice. Through these meaningful exchanges, your supervisor will be prepared and accustomed to routinely signing off on your hours. Likewise, meeting and conferring on a regular basis with your mentor is important for your professional development. These consultations may take place in person, by phone, via video conference, and even through detailed email exchanges where you share photos, ideas and are able to receive guidance. Make certain that your mentor clearly understands your learning objectives so that he or she can direct you to the types of experiences that will sufficiently expose you to the following six competency areas:

  • Programming
  • Schematic Design
  • Design Development
  • Contract Documents
  • Contract Administration
  • Professional Practice

Experience in these areas can be obtained in many ways, such as:

  • Working directly in a competency area
  • Observing others who working in an area that demonstrates one of the competencies
  • Attending lectures, seminars and continuing education courses related to the competency areas, but know that these didactic educational experiences may only be used to fulfill up to 10% of the total required hours

For a complete list of all IDEP Task Areas with descriptions, click here.