Becoming an interior designer

Becoming an interior designer

(Translation coming soon)


To practice interior design, you must hold a college or university degree. The duration of a course at college level varies, but the APDIQ only considers candidates whom have a complete degree, a minimum of 1965 hours in interior design. Read more


Three year diploma programs will be phased out and four year degree programs will become the minimum education standard.

Bachelor’s Degree Requirement
As of January 1, 2015, a four year baccalaureate will be the minimum education requirement.

CIDA Accredited Bachelor’s Degree Program
As of January 1, 2017, a baccalaureate degree that has been recognized by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) will be the minimum education requirement.

What does this mean for you?

Are you thinking about pursuing higher education in interior design?
If so, you must choose a CIDA accredited degree program in order for your credentials to be recognized.  

Are you currently enrolled in a degree program not recognized by CIDA?
If so, you must join your provincial association by January 1, 2020 in order for your credentials to be recognized.


After graduating from a recognized interior design program, prospective interior designers must gain supervised work experience to ensure that they acquire the skills they will need to practice interior design.

Upon graduating from a recognized interior design program, individuals must obtain a prescribed amount of supervised work experience. The supervisor must be one of the following:

  • A Registered member  of his or her provincial association
  • A licensed architect who provides interior design services
  • An NCIDQ certificate holder
  • If the supervisor does not meet one of the above criteria, a percentage of hours worked will still be counted towards mandatory supervised work experience. Please refer to the bottom portion of this chart.


In order to be recognized as a APDIQ Certified Interior Designer  you must succeed at the North American Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination. This exam has 3 components; the first may be completed right after graduation, while the second and third parts require a prior 3 years of supervised practice as an interior designer. Read more



In order to become an interior designer in Canada, you must meet the national standards set by Interior Designers of Canada (IDC) and its nine provincial regulatory bodies.
These standards include specific education, experience and examination requirements.

Changes to the requirements have been made in response to several factors:

The changes will be phased in over the next few years in order to bring Canada in line with North American industry standards.

Sound daunting? Not to worry. The national standards for membership with IDC’s nine provincial regulatory bodies are outlined below.