Interior design examinations are all about testing your knowledge, professionalism, and protecting the public’s health, safety and welfare.

The controversy (and myth)  that currently exists is that there should be only one exam for interior designers (the NCIDQ) and that all other exams (AKBD, CQRID, IDEX) are not adequate.

The interior design profession is  not now, and never has been, a “one size fits all” profession. While the NCIDQ does test on a high level of knowledge and skill,  it does not test on deeper specialties or life safety codes that are specific to individual states.

It is not without irony that the various interior design clubs have adopted their own brand of interior design exams for designers to become “professional members” of their respective organizations:

  • IDS has their residential design exam, CQRID
  • NKBA has their kitchen and bath exam,  AKBD
  • IIDA and ASID accepts the NCIDQ

All of these groups have a vested interest in keeping their status quo. These exams,  in their own right, are just fine but what I object to is the narrow-minded and negative attitudes of some designers and their organizations about the IDEX California exam for legal certification.

Facts about the IDEX California exam and CCIDC, the certification board that administers it:

  1. IDEX is the ONLY interior design exam that contains at least one-third of its questions on California Building Codes & Regulations and Title 24 relevant to interior construction, exiting and accessibility, in addition to professional business practices, ethics and design standards.
  2. It is the ONLY interior design exam where passing leads to a LEGAL TITLE of “Certified Interior Designer” in the state of California (under California Business & Professions Code 5800).
  3. The IDEX exam was developed by an all-industry group comprised of Certified Interior Designers, educators, a California licensed architect,  several building and fire department officials, and a general contractor, and was facilitated by Castle Worldwide, a national psychometric and test development firm.
  4. It is a CERTIFICATION examination, not a specialty interior design exam. Without exception, designers must take the exam and have an interior design education from an accredited college or university, in addition to work experience.
  5. California law (B&P 5800) requires the interior design profession to create its own oversight board to administer and monitor the “Certified Interior Designer” statute which included a suitable examination for certification purposes.

The IDEX meets all of the qualifications and demands of the California state legislature for an entry level certification exam.  

California does not prevent any designer from taking other specialty or generalized exams such as the NCIDQ; however, to hold the legally-recognized title of “Certified Interior Designer” in California, you must pass the IDEX.   One of the best ways to study for the IDEX is to take the IDEX Prep Online class.

About Deni Mosser, CID #0022/NCIDQ#5865

See "Meet the Instructor" page
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