There are some interior design groups who are currently speaking about
 “legal recognition for interior designers in California”.
Here are some facts that will help you understand this misinformation.


MYTH: Legal recognition will encourage economic development by allowing a greater number of businesses to compete for work, commercial or residential.

FACT: The regulation of professions can have the opposite effect as licensing can stifle competition as only a select few will be able to meet the tough standards to comply with the regulatory process. Licensing requirements can create substantial costs to the U.S. economy, and there is evidence that licensing can raise the price of goods and services, restrict employment opportunities, and make it more difficult for workers to take their skills across State lines. In summary, "the practice of licensing can impose substantial costs on job seekers, consumers, and the economy more generally."

Source: The White House, July 2015
Occupational Licensing: A Framework for Policy Makers"

MYTH: What is an interior designer? An interior designer is an individual who has been trained to identify, research, and creatively solve problems pertaining to the development of an interior environment and who possess the knowledge and skills to implement these solutions.

FACT: Anyone in the U.S. can call themselves an interior designer. Certified Interior Designers in California have a legal definition, education, examination requirement and work experience. All CIDs must have a minimum of 6 years of combined education and work experience, and they must take and pass an examination specific to California Building Codes, and sign a Code of Ethics and Conduct. The general public can rely on all these requirements with assurance and with confidence.

MYTH: I have a degree in interior architecture from an accredited school, therefore I can call myself an interior architect.

FACT: If you are not a "licensed" architect, you may not call yourself an interior architect. To do so is a violation of State law and you are subject to a citation and a fine. You are either a Certified Interior Designer, an interior designer or a licensed architect. There is nothing in-between!

MYTH: Legal recognition of the profession will institute benchmarking and continued education requirements.

FACT: All CIDs are required to obtain 10 CEUs every 2 years related to their practice of interior design. CCIDC has had mandatory CEU requirements since 1991, long before many other State licensed professions began following with the same requirements.

MYTH: Interior designers provide construction administration to ensure that contractors build within the local and national building codes.

FACT: Plans must conform to local and national building codes to be approved for a permit. Once construction starts, only the local building inspector ensures that work conforms to all codes (not the designer, not the architect, not the engineer, not even the contractor).

MYTH: In some States use of the term “interior designer” is limited to those professionals meeting the State’s requirements.

FACT: No State government can limit the use of the term “interior designer” as this term has been upheld as commercial free speech under the First Amendment. Federal District Judge Robert L. Hinkle has entered an order, “Opinion on the Merits”, in the case of Locke v. Shore in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida. Under this ruling, any person in the entire United States may use the title “interior designer” regardless of whether they hold a license, registration, or certification from any regulatory authority or not.

Opinion on the Merits, Locke v. Shore

MYTH: Interior design laws have been enacted in 27 States.

FACT: This statement implies that there are restrictions on interior designers through licensing laws in 27 states. In fact,  there are only three states that have some form of restrictive or mandatory licensing, which still doesn’t prevent anyone from calling themselves an interior designer in those states (see Myth above).  These are Nevada, Louisiana and Florida, the latter being for commercial work only as residential work is unrestricted.  All other States that have interior design regulatory acts are all voluntary  “Title Acts”, and do not require any person to obtain any regulatory oversight whatsoever to call themselves interior designers or practice interior design. This is what we have in California.


This is the fourth issue of Capitol Information for Designers,
and the third issue covering Myths vs. Facts on interior design, examinations,
exemptions, rights to practice, and other concerns for interior designers.

Introductory issue -
Issue #1
First Myths vs. Facts - Issue #2
Second Myths vs. Facts -
Issue #3

Please remember to click on the logo to learn more or join the discussion
where we will be posting this issue of Capitol Information for Designers.
You may also E-mail your comments to

We have planned several informative articles including some myth busters, clarification on common misinformation about CIDs and the certification program in California, as well as regular updates on the CCIDC Sunset Review process before the legislature in 2016 and 2017.

Thank you.

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California Council for Interior Design Certification
The standard for interior designers in the State of California
1605 Grand Avenue  - Suite 4
San Marcos, CA 92078
Tel. 760-761-4734  - Fax 760-761-4736
CCIDC website