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Top 11 Industrial Designer Certifications

This article will provide an overview of the top certifications for industrial designers, including requirements and benefits.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 19 min read

Certifications are important for industrial designers in the job market because they prove a level of expertise and experience. Companies want to hire professionals who have demonstrated their knowledge and ability in the field, and certifications provide evidence that an individual has achieved certain standards. Certifications can also help industrial designers stand out from other applicants, as they demonstrate commitment to learning and staying up-to-date on trends and advancements in their chosen field. Additionally, certain certifications may be required by employers or clients, so having them can open up new opportunities for work.

This article reviews the top certifications for Industrial Designers and explains how they can contribute to an industrial designer's career, enabling them to advance professionally and further their expertise.

What are Industrial Designer Certifications?

Industrial designer certification is a professional credential that recognizes an individual's expertise in the field of industrial design. Industrial designers create and develop products, such as furniture, appliances, medical equipment, and consumer goods. This certification can help individuals gain recognition within their field and demonstrate their knowledge and skills to employers or clients. It can also help them stay up-to-date on the latest trends in industrial design, which can give them an edge when competing for jobs or contracts. Furthermore, having a certification may make it easier to get accepted into graduate programs or advanced courses related to industrial design. Ultimately, having this certification can help individuals advance their career and be more successful in the field of industrial design.

Pro Tip: Obtaining an industrial designer certification can open up a world of new opportunities. Make sure to research the different certifications available, and ensure that the one you choose is accredited by a reputable organization. Additionally, it's important to stay up-to-date on industry trends in order to keep your certification current.

Related: What does an Industrial Designer do?

Top 11 Industrial Designer Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Industrial Designers today.

1. Certified Professional Industrial Designer (CPID)

Certified Professional Industrial Designer (CPID) is a professional certification offered by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA). It is the only internationally recognized certification for industrial design professionals. The CPID program is designed to recognize and promote excellence in industrial design practice and to provide a standard of professional achievement that employers, clients, and peers can recognize.

The CPID program consists of three parts: an online application, a portfolio review, and an oral examination. To become certified, applicants must demonstrate their knowledge and experience in industrial design through these three components.

To be eligible for the CPID program, applicants must have at least five years of professional experience in industrial design or related fields. They must also have completed at least one year of post-secondary education in industrial design or a related field.

The application process typically takes four to six weeks from start to finish. Applicants must submit their online application with supporting documentation such as resumes, transcripts, letters of recommendation, and portfolios. After submitting the application, applicants will be invited to participate in a portfolio review with IDSA staff members who will assess their work samples and evaluate their skillset as an industrial designer. Finally, applicants will take part in an oral examination with IDSA staff members who will assess their knowledge and understanding of the field of industrial design.

The cost for the CPID program varies depending on whether you are an IDSA member or not. For non-members it costs $495 USD while for IDSA members it costs $395 USD.

2. Certified Sustainable Design Professional (CSDP)

Certified Sustainable Design Professional (CSDP) is a professional certification program that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated knowledge and experience in sustainable design. This certification is offered by the International Institute for Sustainable Design (IISD).

The CSDP certification process requires applicants to demonstrate their knowledge of sustainable design principles, strategies, and best practices through an online assessment. The assessment consists of multiple-choice questions covering topics such as energy efficiency, water conservation, materials selection, and indoor air quality. Applicants must also submit a portfolio of their work to demonstrate their experience in sustainable design.

The CSDP certification process typically takes between two and four months to complete. Applicants must first register with IISD and pay the application fee before taking the assessment. Once the assessment is completed, applicants must submit their portfolio for review by IISD’s panel of experts. If approved, applicants will be awarded the CSDP certification.

The cost for the CSDP certification varies depending on the applicant’s country of residence. In the United States, it costs $395 USD to apply for the certification; in Canada it costs $495 CAD; and in Europe it costs €295 EURO.

3. National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ)

The National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) is the only professional certification program that is recognized by all U.S. jurisdictions and Canadian provinces as the standard of practice for interior designers. It is a voluntary certification program administered by the Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ).

The NCIDQ Certification Program consists of three components: a comprehensive written examination, a practical simulation exam, and an experience requirement. The entire process typically takes between two to four years to complete, depending on individual circumstances.

To become certified, applicants must first meet education and experience requirements, which vary based on the jurisdiction in which they are seeking certification. Once these requirements are met, applicants can register with CIDQ and take the NCIDQ Exam. The exam consists of two parts: Part I covers knowledge-based topics such as building codes and regulations; Part II covers design-related topics such as space planning and materials selection. Applicants must pass both parts to become certified.

After passing the exam, applicants must complete an approved Practicum Experience Program (PEP) or Intern Development Program (IDP). This involves completing a series of projects under the supervision of an experienced interior designer or mentor who holds NCIDQ certification.

The cost to take the NCIDQ Exam varies depending on your jurisdiction but generally ranges from $400-$800 USD plus applicable taxes. The cost for PEP/IDP programs also varies depending on your jurisdiction but can range from $500-$2,000 USD plus applicable taxes.

4. American Society of Furniture Designers (ASFD)

The American Society of Furniture Designers (ASFD) is an organization dedicated to advancing the profession of furniture design. It was established in 1975 and has since grown to become one of the most respected organizations for furniture designers in the United States. ASFD provides its members with access to exclusive resources, education, networking opportunities, and industry recognition.

To become a member of ASFD, you must be currently employed as a professional furniture designer by a company that produces or sells furniture and have at least three years of experience in the field. Additionally, you must submit two pieces of your original work along with your application.

The cost of membership varies depending on your level of experience. For those who are just starting out in their career, membership costs $125 per year. For experienced designers, it costs $250 per year. The application process typically takes 2-4 weeks from submission to approval.

Once accepted as a member, you will have access to exclusive resources such as webinars, industry news updates, and discounts on events and products related to furniture design. You will also be able to network with other professionals in the field and take advantage of opportunities for recognition within the industry.

5. National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA)

The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) is a professional association for kitchen and bath professionals. It was founded in 1963 to promote professionalism in the industry, and it now serves over 50,000 members worldwide. The NKBA provides resources to help its members stay current on industry trends, develop their skills, and network with other professionals.

To become an NKBA member, individuals must first complete an application form and pay the membership fee. Membership fees vary depending on the type of membership chosen. For example, individual memberships cost $125 annually while corporate memberships cost $400 annually. After submitting the application form and paying the fee, applicants will receive a welcome packet that includes a membership card and access to exclusive benefits such as discounts on educational materials and events.

In addition to individual membership, the NKBA also offers certification programs for kitchen designers, bathroom designers, remodelers, installers, and other related professionals. To become certified by the NKBA requires completion of a series of courses or exams depending on the certification level desired. The amount of time needed to complete these courses or exams varies from person to person but typically takes between 6-12 months. Certification fees range from $200-$400 depending on which program is chosen.

Overall, becoming an NKBA member or obtaining certification through them can be beneficial for kitchen and bath professionals looking to advance their careers or gain recognition within their field of expertise.

6. International Interior Design Association (IIDA)

The International Interior Design Association (IIDA) is an international professional organization dedicated to advancing the profession of interior design. Founded in 1994, IIDA serves over 15,000 members in 58 countries around the world. The organization’s mission is to promote excellence in interior design and to advance the profession through education, advocacy, community building, and research.

To become a member of IIDA you must meet certain qualifications. These include having a degree in interior design or related field from an accredited institution; having at least two years of professional experience; and passing a written examination. Once you have met these requirements, you can apply for membership online or by mail.

It typically takes about four weeks for your application to be processed and approved. Once accepted as a member, you will receive your official IIDA membership card and access to exclusive benefits such as discounts on products and services, networking opportunities with other professionals in the industry, access to job postings and events, and more.

The cost of joining IIDA varies depending on your membership type. Student memberships are free while Professional memberships cost $150 per year ($125 if paid annually). There are also Corporate memberships available for larger companies that cost $500 per year ($400 if paid annually).

7. American Institute of Architects (AIA)

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is a professional organization for architects in the United States. It was founded in 1857 and is headquartered in Washington, D.C. The AIA is dedicated to advancing the value of architecture and its practitioners by promoting excellence in design, advocating for responsible public policies, and providing support to members through education, research, and outreach.

In order to become a member of the AIA, an individual must have a degree from an accredited school of architecture or have completed the Architectural Experience Program (AXP). The AXP is a two-year program that provides practical experience under the supervision of a licensed architect. Once the requirements are met, the individual can apply for membership with the AIA.

The cost of joining the AIA varies depending on what type of membership you choose. There are several different types of memberships available ranging from student memberships at $50 per year to full memberships at $400 per year.

In addition to membership fees, there may also be additional costs associated with taking part in certain activities or attending events hosted by the AIA. These costs vary depending on the activity or event and can range from $10-$200+.

8. LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP)

LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP) is an individual who has demonstrated a thorough understanding of green building principles and practices, and has the knowledge to successfully lead projects through the LEED certification process. The LEED AP credential is awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

It typically takes about one to two years to become a LEED AP. To qualify for the credential, individuals must demonstrate their knowledge of green building principles and practices by passing a rigorous exam administered by USGBC in partnership with the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). The exam covers topics such as energy efficiency, water conservation, indoor environmental quality, materials selection, site selection and development, operations and maintenance, and regional considerations.

To become a LEED AP, you must first register for the exam through GBCI’s website. Once registered, you will be given access to study materials that will help you prepare for the exam. After studying for several months or more depending on your level of experience with green building concepts, you can then take the exam at a testing center near you or online from home.

The cost of becoming a LEED AP varies depending on which version of the credential you are pursuing. For example, if you are seeking the LEED v4 BD+C credential (for new construction projects), it costs $450 USD for USGBC members ($600 USD for non-members). Other versions of the credential may have different fees associated with them.

9. Certified Human Factors Professional (CHFP)

Certified Human Factors Professional (CHFP) is a professional certification offered by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES). The CHFP certification recognizes individuals who have demonstrated a high level of knowledge, skill, and experience in the field of human factors/ergonomics. It is designed to validate an individual’s expertise in applying the principles of ergonomics to improve safety, efficiency, and usability in the workplace.

The CHFP certification requires applicants to demonstrate their knowledge through a combination of education and experience. Applicants must have at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, with coursework in human factors/ergonomics or related disciplines. Additionally, applicants must have three years of direct work experience related to human factors/ergonomics.

The CHFP certification process takes approximately 6-8 weeks from start to finish. To get started, applicants must submit an application form along with supporting documentation such as transcripts and proof of work experience. Once approved, applicants will be required to take an online exam that covers topics such as ergonomic principles, job analysis methods, design guidelines for user interfaces, and more. After passing the exam, applicants will receive their official CHFP certificate from HFES.

The cost for the CHFP certification is $395 for HFES members and $495 for non-members. This fee covers all costs associated with the application process including the exam fee and any additional materials required for review by HFES staff.

10. Certified Ergonomics Associate (CEA)

Certified Ergonomics Associate (CEA) is a professional certification program for ergonomists and other professionals who wish to demonstrate their knowledge of ergonomics principles and practices. The CEA certification is administered by the Board of Certification in Professional Ergonomics (BCPE).

The CEA certification requires applicants to have a minimum of two years of experience in the field of ergonomics, as well as passing an exam. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions covering topics such as anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, ergonomic assessment methods, office ergonomics, industrial ergonomics, and human factors engineering.

It takes approximately three months to complete the CEA certification process. Applicants must first submit an application and fee to the BCPE. Once accepted into the program, applicants must then take and pass the exam within six months or their application will be void.

The cost for taking the CEA certification exam is $395 USD. This includes all study materials and access to practice exams. Additional fees may apply if applicants need to retake the exam or if they need additional study materials or resources.

11. Certified Product Designer (CPD).

Certified Product Designer (CPD) is a professional certification that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated their knowledge and experience in the field of product design. It is awarded by the International Council of Design (ico-D), an international organization dedicated to promoting excellence in design.

The certification process takes about six months to complete, and involves completing an online application, submitting a portfolio of work, and passing an assessment. The assessment consists of a written exam and an oral presentation. After successful completion of the assessment, applicants receive their CPD certificate.

To get certified, applicants must meet certain criteria such as having at least three years of professional experience in product design or related fields, and having completed at least two projects within the past five years. Applicants must also submit a portfolio showcasing their work and provide references from previous employers or clients.

The cost for getting certified varies depending on the country where you are based but typically ranges from $400-$600 USD.

Do You Really Need a Industrial Designer Certificate?

An industrial designer certificate is not a requirement for success in the field. However, having a certificate can be beneficial for those looking to enter the industry or advance their career.

A certificate in industrial design can provide potential employers with proof of your knowledge and skill set. It also shows that you have taken the time to hone your craft and are committed to developing yourself professionally. This can be especially important when competing with other applicants who may have similar qualifications but lack the certification.

Furthermore, having a certificate can help you gain recognition within the industry as well as access to exclusive job opportunities. Many industrial design firms require prospective employees to possess a certificate before they will consider them for hire. Also, certain professional organizations may offer membership only to those who hold a valid certification in industrial design.

Finally, having an industrial designer certificate can open up opportunities for further education and training. Many universities and colleges offer advanced courses in industrial design that are only available to certified professionals. Also, some employers may prefer to hire someone with additional certifications or degrees due to their increased level of expertise in the field.

In summary, an industrial designer certificate is not necessary for success in this profession but it can definitely give you an edge over other applicants and provide access to more advanced educational and career opportunities.

Related: Industrial Designer Resume Examples

FAQs About Industrial Designer Certifications

1. What certifications are available for industrial designers?

Answer: There are a variety of industry-specific certifications available for industrial designers, including the Certified Professional in Industrial Design (CPID), Certified Professional Designer (CPD), and the Certified Industrial Design Specialist (CIDS).

2. How do I become certified as an industrial designer?

Answer: To become certified as an industrial designer, you must first complete a degree in industrial design or related field from an accredited college or university. After that, you can apply to take the certification exam offered by one of the professional organizations mentioned above.

3. Are there any prerequisites for taking the certification exam?

Answer: Yes, most certifying organizations require applicants to have at least two years of professional experience in the field before they can take the exam. Additionally, some organizations may also require applicants to submit letters of recommendation or provide other documentation verifying their experience and qualifications.

4. How long does it take to become certified?

Answer: The amount of time it takes to become certified will vary depending on individual circumstances and how quickly you complete all necessary steps, such as studying for and taking the certification exam. Generally speaking, however, most people can expect to receive their certification within six months to one year after submitting their application.

5. How much does it cost to get certified?

Answer: The cost of getting certified will vary depending on which organization you choose and what type of certification you are seeking. On average, however, applicants can expect to pay between $100-$500 for registration fees and other associated costs such as study materials or travel expenses if applicable.