The field of interior design has many facets and encompasses many different services ranging from staging, to FF&E procurement, to finish selection, to interior architecture, and so much more in between. While designers’ specialties may vary, each have one common responsibility more important than any part of the design: the health, safety, and well-being of occupants.

Depending on where you intend to practice interior design, there may be requirements to prove that you understand more than aesthetic design – that you’re able to design accessible spaces; that you can ensure safe egress in the event of an emergency; that you understand how roles and responsibilities are divided among the different parties involved in the design process – this is where NCIDQ certification becomes invaluable. While an interior designer may accumulate all necessary knowledge on safety- and accessibility-related codes over years of experience, trial, and error, there is still a limit to the services they can legally offer in many North American jurisdictions. Certification not only gets designers into those more restrictive markets – it sets them apart from other designers and puts them in a tier of qualified individuals who collectively raise the standard of professionalism in the interior design industry.

Another important benefit, not to be undervalued, is that certification instills a certain sense of pride, accomplishment, and confidence. Even in areas where certification is not required to practice interior design, being a Certified Interior Designer is inherent proof that you thoroughly know your industry and that clients can trust you to get the job done safely and efficiently. Whether your jurisdiction requires it, or you want the personal satisfaction, NCIDQ certification will be a worthwhile endeavor that will easily pay for itself over time.

At SR/A, we have two NCIDQ certified interior designers on our team – Jessica Watts, and Jennie Carman – and I aim to be the third. After completing the thousands of supervised work hours required, and studying for three solid months, I just finished taking my last two certification exams. I look forward to seeing my results in a few weeks. Fingers crossed!


Brendan Horman is an Interior Designer with SR/A Interior Design. He earned his degree in interior design from New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) in 2014. Outside the office, Brendan enjoys planning his future tiny house and drinking craft beers.