What Is a Certified Interior Designer?

Who Is Considered an Interior DesignerHave you contemplated hiring an Interior Designer? Have you wondered if you would be able to know if the designer was certified, licensed or even qualified for your project – and what, exactly, can a Certified Interior Designer Offer You that an uncertified designer can’t?

Depending on the design project, certain qualifications will need to be met by your Interior Designer in order to provide you with the skills needed to complete your desired end result. Knowing the difference between a Certified Interior Designer and one that is not will help you in determining who to call for your design project, as well as equipping you with Questions You Should Ask Your Interior Designer before hiring them.

Who Can Be Called a “Certified Interior Designer”?

A Certified Interior Designer, in a nutshell, is a design professional who has been awarded qualifications based on their level of education, experience and understanding of the designing field. This may vary from state to state. By completing a higher level of education, a Certified Designer gains additional knowledge of important matters relative to design, such as fire safety, building codes, space planning and disability access issues. In addition, a Certified Designer learns to be adept at not only designing, but preparing and submitting non-structural and/or non-seismic interior constructions plans.

“Non-structural” and/or “non-seismic” means interior elements that are non-load bearing. In other words, elements pertaining to the inside of the structure, for instance; the ceiling or partition systems like floating walls (although they may be braced, they don’t actually assist in supporting the building). Non-structural includes anything that doesn’t adversely affect the actual structure, or the seismic bracing of a building’s structural system.

Some Qualifications of a Certified Interior Designer

 A Certified Designer Requires Additional Education

A Certified Designer Requires Additional Education

There are a combination of qualifications that must be met in order to be referred to as a “Certified Interior Designer” – which can vary by state. According to the CCIDC (California Council for Interior Design Certification) a designer is required to:

  • Complete a four or five year accredited interior design program and have a minimum of two years experience, or;
  • Attend a three year accredited interior design program and have a minimum of three years experience, or;
  • Obtain a combination of interior design education and experience for a minimum total of eight years.
  • Complete the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination, or
  • The Council for Qualification of Residential Interior Designers (CQRID) examination, or
  • Both parts of the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) examination.
  • Continue education classes for re-certification.

In addition, the certified interior design professional has pledged to uphold strict standards, including the CCIDC Code of Ethics, further ensuring quality design services to you, the consumer. Persons who have met the above requirements – and have been certified by the CCIDC (or the appropriate state certification – may then refer to themselves as a Certified Interior Designer.

How will you be able to tell if your designer is certified? You can call CCIDC to verify whether the interior designer you are hiring is indeed certified and in good standing. (The CCIDC also requires that each Certified Interior Designer affix a stamp and a wet signature to all drawings, specifications or documents prepared for submission).

Additional Qualifications

Building Plans

A Certified Designer is Adept at Building Codes

  • Submitting Electrical/Mechanical Plans: A Certified Interior Designer can submit plans that include mechanical and electrical elements if the plans have been prepared and stamped by a licensed mechanical or electrical engineer or architect. Otherwise, they are not licensed to do so on their own.
  • Meeting Handicap Requirements: Certified Interior Designers are required by law to pass a building and barrier free codes exam to demonstrate proficiency in handicap access and other code requirements. Which means that they can easily tackle any design project that needs to meet handicap accessibility requirements.
  • Subcontracting Labor: A Certified Interior Designer would have to hold a valid contractor’s license in order to actually hire subcontractors and/or perform contract work. However, due to the nature of the profession, one of the Benefits of Hiring an Interior Designer is that they possess knowledge in regards to recommendations for subcontracting work, as well as being able to offer assistance in preparing work that needs to be performed by a licensed contractor – thus saving you time and money.

Experience Reigns with a Certified Interior Designer

Congratulations on Being Certified

You Are In Good Hands with a Qualified Designer

The education, training and experience that a qualified Interior Designer contributes to your project will be an invaluable resource in all aspects of the designing process. They will help define your starting point and guide you through to the end, including budgets, sub-contractors, and time restraints. More importantly, a Certified Interior Designer’s extended knowledge in safety and health requirements will keep your loved ones safe and sound long after the designing process is completed.

When you are ready to start looking for professional help with your designing project, our interior designer directory lists highly qualified design firms in your area – or try visiting our new matching service where we help team you up with the right designer for the right job.

For inspiration on design themes please visit our Interior Design Ideas and Photos Gallery which is chocked full of photos and suggestions for your next designing project.