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Difference between NCIDQ and CQRID Exam

  • ImageThe NCIDQ represents a nationally accepted regulatory minimum standard for the testing of interior designers regardless of sub specialty.  Prerequisites to sit for the exam range between four years of college and two years experience two years of college and four years of experience in the interior design field.
  • The CQRID represents a trade organization standard of testing specific to residential interior decorators.Prerequisites to sit for the exam do not require an interior design education only work experience.

  • The NCIDQ exam process is governed by State and Provincial regulatory agencies.It is currently included in 26 jurisdictions in the U.S. which regulate the profession of interior design.
  • The CQRID exam process is governed by the Interior Design Society (IDS), a subset of the National Home Furnishings Association (NHFA).

  • The NCIDQ exam is an independent instrument and is developed within the parameters of best accrediting practices. Its purpose is to protect the public by identifying those individuals competent to practice interior design.
  • The CQRID exam is self-serving instrument of trade organizations and was developed to provide a less stringent avenue to recognition. Its purpose is to introduce tiered registration or diluted registration requirements.

  • The NCIDQ exam process requires a candidate be competent in all aspects of interior design and preparation of appropriate drawings for construction and permitting purposes. Candidates are required to understand building and fire codes as well as Americans with Disabilities Act, regulations and Sustainability standards.
  • The candidates for the CQRID exam are primarily employed at retail establishments with experience backgrounds and nominal design education. Skill levels may be based upon on-the-job training for sales purposes in layout and selection of furniture, fabrics, paint and finishes.

  • The NCIDQ is a three part broad based minimum standard test of interior design technical knowledge and skills concentrating on public health, safety and welfare.
  • The two part CQRID tests primarily residential design with concentration on style and aesthetic principals and minimal health, safety and welfare concerns.

  • The contents of the NCIDQ are linked to independent research to assure all aspects of Interior Design are tested regardless of project type. It concentrates on size performances area (programming, schematics, design development, construction documents, contract administration, professional practice) determined by frequency, criticality, and importance in providing interior design services. Define in terms of understanding and applying knowledge to effectively meet basic interior design projects criteria.
  • By the last available statistics, the CQRID exam focuses on theory, aesthetic details and business criteria with minimal attention to codes and regulations.

  • NCIDQ offers an Interior Design Experience Program (IDEP) to validate work experience required to sit for the exam and continuing education credit tracking for jurisdictions requiring CEU’s.
  • CQRID does not offer any program to validate work experience or tack continuing education credits.

  • The NCIDQ website is comprehensive and provides a wealth of knowledge with links and download locations for ease of use.
  • The CQRID website is a static page lacking pertinent information as well as an address or telephone number for the organization.

Interior Designers team with both Architects and Engineers on a wide range of residential and commercial design projects in which a common technical language is a shared and the value of NCIDQ is understood.  As codes change and continue to impact residential environments there is a profound need for Interior Designers that understands all aspects of building and fire codes as well as ADA standards and regulations – all the more reason for design specialists to embrace the NCIDQ standard.

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