CCIDC _ California Council for Interior Design Certification

1605 Grand Avenue, Suite 4
San Marcos, CA 92078
Phone: 760 - 761-4734  / Fax: 760 - 761-4736
E-mail us

California Council for Interior Design Certification
Provides for the protection, health, safety and welfare of the public by administering the California Certified Interior Designer Title Act.

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Remodeling and Home Design

Comparison  of Examinations in California

Comparison of Examinations in California

- Download this Comparison Chart
- Return to IDEX main page
- Register to Become a Certified Interior Designer

  Position Paper on Exams
NCIDQ Letter 2005



IDEX® California Examination

NCIDQ Examination

What examination is required to become a CID in California?

Yes, this exam

No, not this exam.

Which examination is specifically a “Certification” exam?

Yes, this exam

No, not this exam.

Which examination tests specifically for California building codes (CBC) and Title 24?

Yes, the IDEX® was written specifically for California building codes, ethics, business practices and design as it relates to health, safety and welfare in California.

No, this “national” examination does not test for California codes, or Title 24.

Do the examinations allow for “experience only” candidates as required by California law?

Yes, the IDEX® California allows “experience only” candidates to sit for the examination in accordance with California law.

No, the NCIDQ does not allow “experience only” candidates to sit for their examination.

Do I need to take both exams?

No, the IDEX® is the only exam to become a “Certified Interior Designer” in California, along with education and experience. This is a legal title, recognized in the California Business & Professions Code, Chapter 3.9, Section 5800.

Take the NCIDQ examination for those states that require it; or optionally for your own professional career path and/or to join design associations that require it.

Can designers take both exams?

Yes, if you meet CCIDC’s requirements.

Yes, if you meet NCIDQ’s requirements.

Can I take either examination as soon as I graduate school, or while I am still in school?

Yes, with a minimum of 40 semester units in interior design education, or a minimum of 5 years diversified interior design working experience.

No, you require at least 2 years of interior design education plus an additional 4 years of work experience, for a total of 6 years before you can take this examination.

Does the education have to be under a specific accreditation like CIDA/FIDER?

No, any accreditation recognized by the U.S. Department of Education is acceptable.


Is either examination given online?

Yes, there are 39 testing centers in California, plus many others outside the state. There are two testing windows of at least 30 days each, one in the Spring and one in the Fall. You get to choose the day and time of your examination within the 30 day testing window.

No, the NCIDQ examination is still a paper and pencil examination given on one specific date over two days (Friday and Saturday) twice a year.

What is the cost of each examination?

$300.00 plus a $75.00 testing center fee. You also need to apply to become a CID and pay a one-time application fee of $150.00 for a total of $525.00.

Sections 1 and 2 are $250.00 each plus $385.00 for Section 3. If all three sections are paid for at once the cost is $835. There is also a $160.00 registration fee for a total of between $995.00 and $1,045.00.

Do I need work experience before I can sit for the examination?

No, but you can sit the exam with a minimum of 5 years work experience instead of 2 years of education.

Yes, a minimum of 2 years education plus 4 years work experience for a total of 6 years.

Does the work experience have to be after the education?

No, work experience can be before, during, or after the education. This is important to those who get their education at extension, or night courses and work during the day.

Yes. Work experience before or during the education period is not allowed.

Does the work experience have to be under a supervising professional who is either licensed, registered, certified, or an NCIDQ certificate holder?

No, it can even be self-employment. California does not have licensed or registered interior designers, only Certified Interior Designers. There are also a very limited number of NCIDQ certificate holders in California.


Are there any pending changes to the CID law, or any other laws that might affect your right to practice either as a “Certified Interior Designer” or interior designer?



For more information on Certification in California and the IDEX® California examination including resources, classes, the examination classification system, and to download a “free” study guide, please go to this page.

To schedule a presentation at your school on the IDEX® California examination please have a faculty member, or a student club member, contact CCIDC’s Executive Director  by writing to CCIDC, 1605 Grand Avenue, Suite 4, San Marcos, CA 92078, or
send an email to the CCIDC office.

- Download this Comparison Chart
- Return to IDEX main page
- Register to Become a Certified Interior Designer

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