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CCIDC - California Council for Interior Design Certification


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


October, 2015
News for Certified Interior Designers



CAB slaps a $6,000 fine on an interior architect!

CCIDC has been extolling this warning for a long time now, and of course it was only a matter of time before it became true. The California Architects Board (CAB) has caught many individuals over the years for holding themselves out as an architect without a license for using such words as architect, architecture, and architectural when describing themselves, their services, and their agreements.

For example, did you know that by describing your submittal documents as architectural drawings you are violating the law unless you are a licensed architect in this state? To do so is to hold oneself out as an architect. As a designer, certified or otherwise, you are preparing construction drawings, or documents, not architectural.

We have been publishing articles in our
newsletter and on our web site for a long time now for all unlicensed individuals to stay away from the title interior architect or interior architecture . To use these words is to imply that you are a licensed architect, when in fact, you are not.

Where does this imaginary and illegal title come from?
We’re not quite sure of its origins but we do know that more and more interior design schools are adopting this title for their programs in order to give themselves a supposed marketing edge when trying to attract new students in an ever competitive marketplace. There are 60 interior design schools in California, and six of them offer interior architecture as the title of their accredited interior design programs.

We also see a trend of promoting this language by other national interior design organizations, examining bodies and accrediting bodies, as a way of trying to elevate the profession beyond that of interior design, and into the realm of architecture without the education, skills, and experience of architects. This of course does not sit well with the architects or their professional organizations.

If there is any doubt as to why the architectural profession resists licensing and regulation of interior design one only has to look at the mission creep of the interior design profession and its incursion upon the semantics of architecture. No wonder they accuse interior designers of trying to practice architecture without having to submit to the rigors of actually becoming a licensed architect.

As predicted by this board, we now see the first of probably many citations to come against an individual for using the illegal title of interior architect. Here is the citation in full:

                   Source for above at

This is an instance where this person has a degree in interior architecture from a school in Chicago, and decided to use the title inferred by that degree. We know from experience that a lot of graduates from
interior architecture programs in California also lean towards calling themselves interior architects because it stands to reason that if you graduate from an interior architecture program , you think you must be an interior architect! We have come across quite a few CIDs using this title, and have quickly educated them on the prospects of being cited by CAB. As you can see from the above, it is quite an expensive proposition.

A word of caution for the schools!

We have discussed with the CAB the legality of allowing the schools to call their programs interior architecture. CAB has researched this and told us they have absolutely no jurisdiction in this area and that the schools can call their programs whatever they wish to. It is the individuals emanating from these programs who are restricted by law as to what they can and cannot call themselves. It is basically an act of individual responsibility.

We will say, however, that if more people (and there will be more), are caught and cited and fined by CAB for using this term after graduating from one of these programs, and leave the school with the impression that it is okay to use such a title, there will be the possibility of some legal culpability on the part of the school. It would be beholden upon these schools, especially the ones in California to make it very clear to all students enrolling in their interior architecture programs to refrain from ever using that title.

Even if a school disavows the use of this title, a faculty member advocating such could unwittingly or otherwise drag them into a protracted and expensive legal procedure with their former student attempting to collect recompense. Food for thought! Of course disavowing the title of the very course you are offering undermines the whole marketing concept and makes it somewhat moot. Why not change it back to interior design and avoid the whole possibility of conflict?

A good suggestion for these schools would be to run this by your legal department before it blows back on you.

The last word:

CCIDC’s position is aligned with that of CAB. We are interior designers, they are architects. There is no such thing as a hybrid between the two and there never will be. If you want to practice architecture then become an architect. If you want to practice interior design at a professional level, then become a Certified Interior Designer. That is your title as allowed by the state of California under the law through CCIDC.

Download our May 2015 board meeting minutes.

New Job Openings

McCandless & Associates, Architects in Woodland, CA is seeking a junior to intermediate level
Certified Interior Designer to join their practice.

Corporate Design Group (CDG) in Roseville, CA is seeking a Senior Associate Certified Interior Designer.

Glidewell Laboratories in Irvine, CA is seeking a Certified Interior Designer.

Read more about these jobs on the CCIDC site >>


Warning About Using the Term Interior Architecture

Some schools are erroneously calling their interior design programs interior architecture. This is misleading, as graduates from these programs cannot legally call themselves interior architects and cannot legally say they practice interior architecture, unless they are licensed architects.

Under California law, there is no such title as  interior architect or a separate scope of practice called interior architecture. In California, you are either an interior designer, a Certified Interior Designer or a licensed architect. There is nothing in between.

Any interior designer - Certified or not - who advertises architectural services is breaking the law unless you are licensed.
Do not hold yourself out as an architect or say that you do architectural design, or interior architecture, as it is unethical as well as unlawful, and you can be subject to an embarrassing citation and an expensive civil penalty from the California Architects Board.

Regardless of which interior design program you graduate from, you can only call yourself an interior designer or the legal title Certified Interior Designer but only when you have applied to, and been approved by CCIDC.

In addition, the title Certified Interior Designer and appellation CID are both protected by statute in California. It is unlawful to use them without first being Certified by CCIDC (meeting all CCIDC exam, education and experience requirements.) Note that passing a national examination which emphasizes the word Certified does not make you a Certified Interior Designer in California. If you have any questions, please feel free to
contact us.



School & Design Firm Presentations

Certification is the only legally recognized credential in California.
CCIDC will explain certification for interior designers and the IDEX California
® exam.

Schedule a free Certification / IDEX
® Presentation

              • Schools
              • Design Firms
              • Architectural firms
              • Professional Design Associations

Presentation Topics Include:

                • The history of Certification
                • Requirements to become a CID
                • The process to become certified
                • Certification as it relates to a career in design
                • Open Q&A period - Allow 90 minutes total
                • Ethics and Business Practices **

    ** The optional Ethics and Business Practices seminar can
    be included with the Certification presentation.
    Schedule one 120 minute presentation or two separate 60 minute presentation dates.**

    CIDs in attendance will receive CCIDC CEU credit.

    contact us to schedule a presentation, or to receive more information.

LEED Discounts for CIDs
CIDs receive free access to  the CCIDC corporate U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) membership. As such, CIDs can receive free access to this membership for discounted study materials and USGBC events which could help make the LEED Green Associate exam more affordable.

Use these links to download free marketing brochures and articles for CIDs.

ABC Brochure - Answers & Basics for Consumers

Request 10 printed ABC Brochures free of charge

Consumer Guide to Hiring a Certified Interior Designer

Hiring an Interior Designer? Make sure they are Certified!

The Most Common Mistakes People Make When Hiring an Interior Designer

The Difference Between a Decorator and an Interior Designer

Code of Ethics and Conduct for Certified Interior Designers


For IDEX® Candidates Only
 Exam Study Resources

The Official IDEX California Study Guide
Free 35+ page booklet prepared by CCIDC
Provides IDEX
® exam background information
Includes schedule, rules, release of results, exam format,
exam content, sample questions and an FAQ
NOT a 'study manual'

CIDs in good standing are not required to take the IDEX Exam

For classes and study materials, please refer to the third-party vendors listed below.

From Third-Parties:


CEU Requirements for ALL CIDs

Every active Certified Interior Designer (CID) is required to successfully complete continuing education course equivalent to 1.0 or 10 hours of continuing education units (CEUs), during each two-year certification renewal period. CEUs are calculated in the two-year certification renewal period, not by calendar years. It is the responsibility of each CID to report completed CEU course credits to the CCIDC online registry, either prior to, or at the time of certificate renewal. CIDs shall complete these requirements timely in order to avoid a delay in the processing of their certification renewal. CIDs who fail to comply with the CEU requirement within the compliance period will not be certified by CCIDC and will be required to reapply for certification.

CEUs completed for Professional Organizations, Clubs or Groups (including but not limited to: AIA, AIBD, ASID, IDS, IFDA, IIDA, NKBA, etc.), shall satisfy CCIDC CEUs requirements; when reported to the CCIDC online registry. CEUs must be relevant to Interior Design, Architecture or the Business of either.
IDCEC reports CEUs to ASID and IIDA only; they do NOT report them for verification for your Certification for the State of California.

CEU Classes and Requirements

CID Online Registry Account

CIDs create your account online

CEU registry for Certified Interior Designers

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