Article

Top 10 Interior Design Consultant Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications for interior design consultants, including requirements, benefits, and potential career paths.

Photo of Brenna Goyette
Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 18 min read

Certifications for an interior design consultant are important in the job market because they demonstrate a level of knowledge and expertise that employers look for when hiring. Certifications can also provide credibility and recognition to the interior design consultant, showing potential employers that they have the necessary skills and qualifications to do the job well. Additionally, certifications can open up new opportunities for career advancement and help to establish a network of professional contacts. Finally, many interior design firms require certification as proof of competency before they will consider hiring an individual.

The purpose of this article is to review the top certifications for Interior Design Consultants and demonstrate how they can help advance an interior design consultant's career.

What are Interior Design Consultant Certifications?

Interior design consultant certification is a credential offered by professional organizations and educational institutions to recognize individuals who have achieved a high level of proficiency in the field of interior design. The certification typically requires successful completion of an approved course of study, often including both classroom instruction and on-the-job experience. It also involves passing an exam that tests knowledge of interior design principles and practices.

Having this certification can provide many benefits for those seeking to work as an interior design consultant. First, it demonstrates to potential employers that the individual has received formal training in the subject matter and possesses a certain level of competency in the field. Additionally, it serves as proof that the individual is committed to their profession, since they have taken the time and effort to obtain such an advanced credential. Finally, it may entitle holders to certain professional discounts or access to resources not available to non-certified individuals.

In conclusion, obtaining interior design consultant certification can be a great way for professionals to stand out in their field and demonstrate their expertise. This can help them secure more competitive job opportunities as well as access additional resources that can aid them in their career path.

Pro Tip: When selecting an interior design consultant, be sure to check for certification from a recognized professional organization. Certification provides assurance that the consultant has the necessary knowledge and experience to provide quality services and advice.

Related: What does an Interior Design Consultant do?

Top 10 Interior Design Consultant Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Interior Design Consultants today.

1. National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ)

The National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) is the leading certification program for interior designers. It is a voluntary professional certification program that provides a comprehensive set of standards for the practice of interior design. The NCIDQ Certification is recognized by state and provincial regulatory boards as meeting their requirements for licensure or registration.

The NCIDQ exam consists of three sections: the Interior Design Fundamentals Exam (IDFX), the Professional Practice Exam (PRAC), and the Interior Design Professional Exam (IDPX). The exams are designed to assess an individual’s knowledge, skills, and abilities related to interior design practice.

It typically takes six months to two years to complete all three sections of the NCIDQ exam. This timeline can vary depending on an individual's experience level and how quickly they are able to study and prepare for each section.

To get started with the NCIDQ exam process, individuals must first apply online at www.ncidq.org/apply-for-exam/. Applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements in order to qualify for taking the exams, such as having completed a minimum number of hours of work experience in interior design or having graduated from an accredited interior design program.

The cost of taking all three sections of the NCIDQ exam varies depending on when you register and which exams you take. The total cost ranges from $1,000-$2,000 USD.

2. American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Professional Certification

The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Professional Certification is a voluntary, comprehensive program that recognizes the professional achievements of interior designers. It is a way to demonstrate an individual’s commitment to excellence in the profession and provides recognition for those who have met the highest standards of knowledge and experience.

It takes approximately two years to complete the certification process. To get certified, applicants must meet certain educational criteria, pass an examination, and submit a portfolio demonstrating their design skills.

The cost of certification varies depending on the level of membership. For non-members, it is $500. For members, it is $300 for Associate members and $400 for Professional members.

In addition to these fees, there are also costs associated with taking the required exams and submitting a portfolio. The final cost will depend on how much time and effort an individual puts into preparing for these requirements.

3. Certified Interior Designer (CID)

Certified Interior Designer (CID) is a professional designation that recognizes interior designers who have met specific standards of education, experience, and competency. The CID designation is awarded by the Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ), which is the leading credentialing organization for interior designers in North America.

In order to become a Certified Interior Designer, an individual must meet certain educational and experience requirements set forth by CIDQ. These requirements include completing a minimum of six years of combined education and/or work experience in interior design, passing the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) Examination, obtaining liability insurance, and meeting any other state or local licensing requirements.

The NCIDQ Exam consists of three sections: Professional Practice & Regulatory Issues; Contract Documents & Administration; and Design Applications & Theory. It takes approximately nine months to complete the exam preparation process and pass all three sections.

In order to take the NCIDQ Exam, applicants must register with CIDQ at least four months prior to their desired testing date. The registration fee for the exam is $695 USD plus applicable taxes. In addition to this fee, applicants may also be responsible for additional fees associated with their state or local licensing requirements.

Once all requirements are met, individuals can apply for certification through CIDQ’s online application system. Upon approval of their application, they will be awarded the Certified Interior Designer (CID) credential and receive a certificate from CIDQ verifying their status as a certified professional designer.

4. Certified Kitchen and Bath Designer (CKBD)

Certified Kitchen and Bath Designer (CKBD) is a professional certification program offered by the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA). It is designed to recognize experienced kitchen and bath designers who have demonstrated their knowledge of design principles, industry standards, codes, and regulations. The CKBD credential is a voluntary program that requires applicants to meet certain educational and experience requirements, pass an exam, and adhere to a code of ethics.

It typically takes about two years to become a Certified Kitchen and Bath Designer. To qualify for the exam, applicants must have at least two years of full-time work experience in kitchen or bath design. They must also complete at least 30 hours of NKBA-approved continuing education courses in areas such as design principles, construction details, product selection, project management, business practices, codes and regulations.

The cost of becoming a Certified Kitchen and Bath Designer varies depending on the type of courses taken and the number of credits required for completion. Generally speaking, the cost can range from $1,000-$2,500. This includes fees for the application process as well as any applicable course fees or exam fees.

To apply for the CKBD credentialing program you must submit an online application form with your contact information and proof of your work experience in kitchen or bath design. You will also need to provide documentation that you have completed at least 30 hours of NKBA-approved continuing education courses in relevant areas such as design principles, construction details, product selection, project management etc. Once your application has been approved you will be able to register for the CKBD examination which is administered by Prometric Testing Centers throughout North America.

5. LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP)

LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP) is a certification program offered by the US Green Building Council (USGBC). It is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated knowledge and expertise in green building practices and principles. LEED APs are qualified to lead projects through the LEED certification process, advise on green building strategies, and promote sustainable design.

To become a LEED AP, you must first complete an application form with the USGBC. Once accepted, you will need to pass an exam that tests your knowledge of green building principles and practices. The exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions covering topics such as energy efficiency, water conservation, materials selection, indoor air quality, and more.

The cost of becoming a LEED AP varies depending on which type of certification you are seeking. For example, the cost for a LEED Green Associate is $200 while the cost for a LEED AP with specialty is $500. Additionally, there may be additional fees associated with taking the exam or registering for continuing education courses.

In general, it takes about two months to become a LEED AP once you have submitted your application and passed the exam. This includes time spent studying for the exam as well as any additional requirements such as attending continuing education courses or earning professional development hours.

6. Sustainable Design Professional (SDP)

Sustainable Design Professional (SDP) is a certification program that recognizes professionals who are knowledgeable and experienced in the field of sustainable design. The program focuses on the principles of sustainability and how they can be applied to the design of buildings, products, and services. It is designed to help professionals develop their understanding and application of sustainable design principles in order to create more efficient, effective, and environmentally responsible solutions.

The Sustainable Design Professional program takes approximately two years to complete. During this time, participants must complete a series of courses that cover topics such as energy efficiency, green building materials, water conservation, renewable energy sources, waste management systems, and more. Participants must also demonstrate their knowledge by completing a final project or portfolio review.

To become certified as an SDP, applicants must have at least three years of professional experience in the field of sustainable design or related fields such as architecture or engineering. Applicants must also pass an examination administered by the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

The cost for becoming an SDP varies depending on the number of courses taken and other factors such as location. Generally speaking however, it can cost anywhere from $2,000 - $4,000 USD for all course fees and exam fees combined.

7. Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS)

A Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) is a professional designation given by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) to individuals who have completed a comprehensive training program and passed an exam. The CAPS designation is designed to help home builders, remodelers, designers, and other industry professionals understand the needs of older adults who wish to remain in their homes as they age.

The CAPS program consists of three courses: Design/Build Solutions for Aging-in-Place; Marketing and Business Strategies for Aging-in-Place; and Legal Issues for Aging-in-Place. Each course takes approximately 8 hours to complete, with the entire program taking 24 hours to finish.

To obtain the CAPS designation, individuals must first register for the program through NAHB's website. Upon completion of all three courses, participants must pass an online certification exam administered by NAHB. Once the exam has been successfully completed, individuals will receive their CAPS certificate from NAHB.

The cost of obtaining the CAPS designation varies depending on whether or not you are a member of NAHB. For nonmembers, the cost is $399 per person for all three courses plus the certification exam fee. For members of NAHB, there is a discounted rate of $299 per person for all three courses plus the certification exam fee.

8. Building Performance Institute Certification

The Building Performance Institute (BPI) is a nationally recognized certification program that provides standards for energy efficiency and home performance. It is the most widely accepted and respected certification program in the home performance industry. BPI certifications are designed to ensure that professionals have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to conduct comprehensive assessments of existing homes, diagnose problems, and make recommendations for improvements.

To become BPI certified, you must complete a training course and pass an exam. The training courses vary in length depending on the type of certification you are seeking. For example, the Building Analyst Professional Certification requires 40 hours of instruction while the Envelope Professional Certification requires 20 hours of instruction. Once you have completed your training course, you must pass a written exam to earn your certification.

The cost of BPI certification varies depending on your location and type of certification sought but typically ranges from $500 - $1,000 USD. This fee includes both the training course and exam fees.

Once you have earned your BPI certification, it is valid for three years from the date of issuance and may be renewed by completing continuing education requirements or retaking the exam every three years.

9. National Association of Home Builders Green Professional Certification

The National Association of Home Builders Green Professional Certification is a comprehensive program that provides home builders and remodelers with the knowledge and skills to build green homes. The certification is designed to equip professionals with the tools and resources needed to build energy-efficient, healthy, and sustainable homes.

How Long Does It Take To Get It?

The program consists of three components: an online course, an in-person workshop, and a final exam. The online course takes approximately 8 hours to complete. The in-person workshop is typically held over two days and includes hands-on activities related to green building techniques. After completing both the online course and in-person workshop, participants must pass a final exam in order to receive their certification.

How To Get It?

In order to become certified as a Green Professional, individuals must first register for the program through the NAHB website. Once registered, participants will be given access to the online course materials as well as information about upcoming workshops. After completing both the online course and in-person workshop, participants must pass a final exam in order to receive their certification.

How Much Does It Cost?

The cost of the program varies depending on whether or not you are an NAHB member. For nonmembers, the cost is $495 for the entire program (including both online course materials and in-person workshop). For members of NAHB, there is a discounted rate of $395 for the entire program (including both online course materials and in-person workshop).

10. Certified Lighting Consultant (CLC)

A Certified Lighting Consultant (CLC) is a professional designation for individuals who have met the educational and experience requirements to become a lighting specialist. The CLC designation is awarded by the American Lighting Association, which is an organization that provides education and resources to lighting professionals.

The requirements for becoming a CLC include completing at least eight hours of approved continuing education courses, having three years of professional lighting experience, and passing an exam administered by the ALA. The exam covers topics such as lighting design principles, energy-efficient lighting systems, and safety standards.

It typically takes several months to complete all of the requirements for becoming a CLC. After completing the required courses and passing the exam, applicants must submit their application along with proof of their qualifications to be reviewed by the ALA. Once approved, they will receive their official CLC certification.

The cost of becoming a CLC varies depending on the courses taken and other factors. Generally speaking, it can cost anywhere from $500-$1000 to become certified.

Do You Really Need a Interior Design Consultant Certificate?

The answer to this question really depends on your situation and goals. If you are looking to become a professional interior designer, then you will likely need an interior design consultant certificate in order to be competitive in the job market. This certification is offered by a variety of different organizations, such as the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ).

Having an interior design consultant certificate can provide you with additional credibility and demonstrate your commitment to the field of interior design. It can also help you stand out from other applicants when applying for positions or competing for projects. Additionally, having a certificate may open up new opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable without it.

However, if you are more interested in pursuing interior design as a hobby or part-time career, then it might not be necessary for you to obtain an interior design consultant certificate. You could still learn the basics of designing interiors through self-study and practice, although having a certification could certainly help legitimize your skillset. Ultimately, it is up to you whether or not obtaining an interior design consultant certificate is worth your time and money.

Related: Interior Design Consultant Resume Examples

FAQs About Interior Design Consultant Certifications

1. What is an Interior Design Consultant Certification?

Answer: An Interior Design Consultant Certification is a credential that proves a professional’s knowledge and expertise in the field of interior design. This certification is awarded by accredited institutions and verifies that an individual has achieved a certain level of proficiency in this profession.

2. What are the benefits of obtaining an Interior Design Consultant Certification?

Answer: Obtaining an Interior Design Consultant Certification can provide several key benefits, including increased credibility as a professional, access to new job opportunities, higher pay, and improved networking opportunities within the industry.

3. How do I become certified as an Interior Design Consultant?

Answer: Becoming certified as an Interior Design Consultant typically involves completing courses or programs at accredited institutions, passing examinations, and submitting evidence of experience in the field. In some cases, additional requirements may apply depending on the certifying institution.

4. What types of courses should I take to become certified as an Interior Design Consultant?

Answer: The specific courses you will need to take will depend on the certifying institution and your experience level. Generally speaking, you should expect to take classes related to interior design principles and practices such as space planning, color theory, lighting design, furniture selection and placement, textiles selection and application, drafting techniques, computer-aided design (CAD), project management skills, building codes and regulations compliance etc.

5. How long does it take to become certified as an Interior Design Consultant?

Answer: The amount of time it takes to become certified will vary depending on your experience level and the certifying institution’s requirements but typically ranges from one year up to four years for more advanced certifications.

Related articles

Top 17 Interior Design Consultant Resume Objective Examples

This article provides examples of effective resume objectives for interior design consultants to help them stand out in their job search.

What does an Interior Design Consultant do?

Learn all about Interior Design Consultant duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become an Interior Design Consultant.

Top 10 Interior Design Assistant Certifications

This article discusses the top certifications available for aspiring interior design assistants, including requirements and benefits.

Top 10 Senior Interior Designer Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications for senior interior designers, including requirements and benefits.

Top 11 Interior Designer Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications for interior designers and explores the benefits of each.

Top 17 Interior Designer Resume Objective Examples

This article provides examples of effective objectives to use in resumes for those interested in a career as an interior designer.