NCIDQ Rolls Out New Exam Requirement

Oct. 19, 2009

WASHINGTON – The National Council for Interior Design Qualification Inc. (NCIDQ) has announced a policy effective in 2010 that requires candidates taking the NCIDQ Examination (to earn the NCIDQ Certificate) to pass all sections of the examination within a five-year period or retest.

This five-year “rolling” window of time describes the way in which the timing accrues. Rather than one five-year fixed period of time, a candidate’s time “rolls” forward in five-year increments depending on when he or she passes an exam section.

The practice of interior design evolves, and it is critical that individuals who hold the NCIDQ credential have been tested on the practice as it is relevant today.

“Most major licensure or certification programs that deal with public protection have similar requirements,” explains Jeffrey Kenney, NCIDQ executive director. “Certification and licensure examinations represent to the public that the individuals who hold their credential have been determined to be at least minimally competent at the time the credential was issued. When candidates are allowed to take individual test sections over many years or decades, it is harder to claim that at one point in time these individuals possessed all of the knowledge, skills and abilities required for minimum entry-level competence.”

Candidates Who Have Taken At Least One Section Of The Exam
Candidates who have taken at least one section of the NCIDQ Examination must pass all three sections by December 31, 2014. After that date, NCIDQ will void any sections passed more than five years earlier, and candidates must retake those sections and complete the exam within a new five-year window.

Candidates Who Will Begin Testing In 2010
Candidates who begin testing for the first time starting in 2010 must complete all sections of the exam within a five-year window. After five years, NCIDQ will void any sections passed more than five years earlier and the candidate must retake those sections and complete the exam within a new five-year window.

“There will be very few people affected by these changes,” says Kenney. “We know most of our candidates begin testing and earn their credential within the first year or two of their eligibility. However, we remain committed to our mission of public protection, and so for that small part of our candidate population that doesn’t pass the exam in five years, we will now mandate the five-year requirement.”

Candidates who do not take any sections of the examination within five years of being made eligible by NCIDQ will lose their eligibility status. Candidates who lose their eligibility status due to non-testing must reapply, meet the requirements in effect at that time and pay any application fees.

The next examination will be administered April 9-10, 2010. For first-time takers, the application deadline is December 1, 2009. Visit NCIDQ’s Web site for complete information and instructions on applying for the examination.

NCIDQ® is an organization of regulatory boards and provincial associations in the United States and Canada whose core purpose is to protect the health, life safety and welfare of the public by establishing standards of competence in the practice of interior design. More information about the organization may be found at

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