No, there is no such thing as “Self” or “Private” Certification. Nowhere in the Certified Interior Designers Title Act (Section 5800) does it refer to the title “Certified Interior Designer” as “self-certification.”
California has a Certified Interior Designers Title Act , written into law, under Chapter 3.9, Section 5800 of the California Business and Professions Code.
CCIDC, the California Council for Interior Design Certification, founded in 1992, by the interior design profession in California, after the passage of SB 153, a law that created into statute the legally recognized title of “Certified Interior Designer.”
Like all State boards and non-profit boards, CCIDC is accountable to the Assembly Business and Professions Committee and the Senate Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee joint Sunset Review Committee. The Sunset Review oversight hearings, review the boards and bureaus under the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA). Reviewed every 4 years, or as determined by the legislature for compliance with the statute they administer and are subject to sunset (elimination) if determined to be out of compliance.
CCIDC is also subject to the Bagley–Keene Act, a statute specifically enacted only for the operational oversight of all California State boards and commissions.
If I have a degree in interior architecture from an accredited school, can I call myself an interior architect?
No, it is not legal to do so.
Attending or graduating from an interior design program calling itself “Interior Architecture” does not give one the right to use the title “Architect” or “Architecture” in their descriptions or activities.
The term “Interior Architect” is not a real profession or title. This language is used as a marketing tool by some universities, national interior design organizations, examining bodies and accrediting bodies, likely thinking these titles somehow elevate the profession. Using an illegal title does nothing to elevate the profession.
Follow this link for more information.
Interior designers in California have had legal recognition since 1991, and have had the ability to become “certified” interior designers through the Certified Interior Designers Title Act as codified under Chapter 3.9, Section 5800 of the California Business and Professions Code. It is not a mandatory requirement in order to practice interior design, but voluntary, so any interior designer who wants legal recognition has had the ability to do so. Legal recognition in California is a choice, not a right granted by the legislature.
It is impossible for an interior design law to determine the scope of practice. The exemptions contained within the architects and engineers practice acts that determine the minimum standard for practicing architecture or engineering. Within both practice acts there are exemptions (CBPC Sections 5537, 5538, 6737.1 & 6745) that have been in place since 1939, which spell out the work that is exempt from the requirements of engaging an architect or engineer to oversee the design. The scope of practice for interior designers cannot expand beyond the limits of those exemptions codified into law.
Will legal recognition eliminate the need for interior designers to pay architects or engineers to redraw, stamp and sign their work?
As long as interior designers certified or otherwise, design below the minimum standards in compliance with the statutory exemptions that require an architect or engineers oversight, there is no need for a stamp. The California Building Code in conjunction with the oversight and judgment of the local building official, who has jurisdiction over the project, determines who can and who cannot submit their plans for permit consideration and compliance. Any other title for interior designers will not change this.
Will legal recognition ensure the “right” to submit plans to local building authorities for permit issuance purposes?
No one has a “right” to submit plans for permit, not even architects or engineers. It is a “privilege” not a right, and the local building official and the plan check submittal policies of the local jurisdiction make that determination.
No, any person, who acts as a primary contractor on a project without holding a proper, valid, and current contractor’s license is in violation of State law. Contractors are also required have proper worker’s compensation insurance for their employees, be bonded and display their license numbers at all times. You do not need to be an interior designer in order to apply for a contractor’s license.
Will legal recognition permit interior designers to bid on State and Federal projects requiring “Registered/Licensed/Certified” design professionals?
Most, if not all State and Federal projects require a licensed architect or engineer as the “Prime” professional and the interior designer works as a consultant to the prime. They do not need to be licensed, registered or certified as the license of the prime professional trumps all others. There is no Federal law requiring interior designers to be Registered/Licensed/Certified or otherwise in order to bid or work on a Federal contract.
Will legal recognition of the profession institute benchmarking and continuing education (CEU) requirements?
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 similar requirements.
Can interior designers provide construction administration, and is it their role to ensure that contractors build within the local and national building codes?
Yes, interior designers can provide construction observance and administration services on behalf of their clients. However, unless the submitted plans conform to local and national building codes the local building officials will not approve them, for permit purposes and therefore cannot be used for construction. 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.
Is it true in some States, use of the term “interior designer” is limited to those professionals meeting the State’s requirements?
No State can limit the use of the term “interior designer” this term has been held as free speech under the First Amendment, by the Florida Federal Courts. (Source: Opinion on the Merits, Locke v. Shore)
No, there are not restrictions on interior designers through licensing laws in 27 states; only three (3) states that have some form of restrictive or mandatory licensing. These are Nevada, Louisiana and Florida. Florida’s licensing is for commercial work only as residential work is unrestricted. POLITIFACT/Florida All other States that have interior design regulatory acts are all voluntary and do not require any person to obtain any regulatory oversight whatsoever, including California.
You are not a member! Once you become a “Certified Interior Designer”, the title conferred on you in accordance with the Certified Interior Designers Title Act. CCIDC is not a “membership” organization; rather the organization responsible for administering the requirements of the Certified Interior Designers Title Act under Chapter 3.9, Section 5800 of the California Business and Professions Code.
Qualified Professionals From one of the Following:
- Interior Design
- Building Design
Requirements must come from an accredited institution approved by US Department of Education.
CIDA or FIDER accreditation NOT required.
Total Units, (Excluding General Education Courses), From Coursework in the Following Categories:
- Interior Design
- Art History
- Building Design
- History Design
- Graphic Design
- Interior Decoration
- History Building Codes
- Construction Documents
- Green Building Practices
Computer Aided Design and Drafting (CADD)
Business Practices as Related to the Practice of Design
Core units are calculated by semester units; Quarter units will be converted into Semester Units
Total Core units determine eligibility, completion of a degree not required.
Meet Minimum Qualifications to Take the IDEX California®
Minimum of 40 Semester Core Units from accredited design program (60 Quarter Units).
Education requirements to complete certification vary as well as an option for experience-only candidates to apply explanation in further detail to follow.
Design Experience Including:
Prepare complex nonstructural or nonseismic plans
Instruction for the preparation of complex nonstructural or nonseismic plans
Complex nonstructural or nonseismic plans:
Require the skills of a licensed contractor to implement
Includes programming, planning, designing, and documenting construction
Installation of nonstructural or nonseismic elements, finishes and furnishings
Protect and enhance the health, safety, and welfare of the public.
Full-Time Diversified Design Experience Requirements:
(36 hours or more per week, 52 weeks per year).
1 Year = 1,872 Hours+
2 Years = 3,744 Hours+
3 Years = 5,616 Hours+
4 Years = 7,488 Hours+
5 Years = 9,360 Hours+
8 Years = 14,976 Hours+
Proof of Diversified Design Experience May be Submitted in Two Ways:
Proof for Self-Employment:
Federal Tax Returns
1040/1040A/1040EZ (Page 2 Only)
Return for each year of experience
Letter from a CPA or Attorney confirming candidate’s profession, verify knowledge required duration of occupation.
Résumés NOT accepted for self-employment
Proof for Outside Employment:
Verifiable, Professional Résumé
Include Start and end Dates
Include Hours Worked
Detailed Job Responsibilities
Complete employer Contact Information
Include all Positions for Consideration
All Candidates who Meet the Qualifications are Encouraged to Become Certified:
International education allowed, provided:
- International Education from Accredited Source
- Accreditation by USDE International Equivalent accrediting agency
- Provide translated/verified transcripts
- International experience considered
- Provide verifiable proof of diversified design experience
There are Three Paths to Qualification:
Path 1 – Can take the IDEX California® but, are not yet eligible to be Certified.
- Minimum of 40 Semester Core Units from accredited design program (60 Quarter Units)
- More than 5 but less than 8 years of diversified design experience.
Path 2 – Candidates Qualify to Become Certified Upon Passing the IDEX California®.
Candidates must meet one of the following minimum qualifications:
- 80+ Semester Core Units from accredited design program (120+ Quarter Units) plus two years of diversified design experience.
- 60 79 Semester Core Units from accredited design program (90+ Quarter Units) plus three years of diversified design experience.
- 40 59 Semester Core Units from accredited design program (60+ Quarter Units) plus four years of diversified design experience.
- Minimum eight years eight years of diversified design experience, interior design education, or combination of both that total eight years.
Path 3 – For Candidates who have previously passed a national design exam, streamlined path to take the IDEX California® and become certified upon successfully passing.
Candidates provide proof of passing one of the following examinations, to qualify:
NKBA (CKD and CBD)
Qualified Candidates apply online; detailed instructions provided:
Complete and submit the online application
Attach requested documents
Mail in corresponding documentation as instructed
Pay Fees: Application/IDEX/Test Center
All fees are due at the time of application.
Corresponding documentation MUST be received prior to the deadline date.
Incomplete applications deferred to future testing period, NO Exceptions.
Candidates have 1 year from registration approval to sit for exam.
Applications accepted year-round 365 Days per year:
If you plan to take the IDEX California® in Spring
Complete application packets must be received before March 1st
If you plan to take the IDEX California® in Fall
Complete application packets must be received before August 1st
Incomplete Applications or Paperwork received after deadline date:
Candidate deferred to a later testing period.
There are generally two types of fees.
Total Fees due with application: Includes Application Fee + IDEX® Exam Fee + Testing Center Fee**
Certification Fees: Once you have applied, passed the IDEX® California Exam and been approved by the Compliance Committee, you will pay your 2-year Certification fees of $275-$350.
Path 1 and Path 2 Candidates
Path 1 Candidates
Path 2 Candidates
Path 3 and Path 4 Candidates
Path 3 Candidates
Path 4 Candidates
Total Bi-Annual Certification Fees* Due After Passing Exam and Compliance Approval:
ALL Candidates $275-$350***
*Fee is nonrefundable
**Additional fees & shipping charges may apply
The verification process takes time; CCIDC will contact you via email:
Information provided verified by CCIDC Staff (duration varies).
Notification of application approval provided, upon completion.
Candidates have 1 year from registration approval to sit for exam.
NOTICE TO SCHEDULE (NTS) email from Castle Worldwide Testing Center.
Candidates receive the NTS email at the end of March (Spring )/August (Fall).
NTS provides candidates testing center account login.
Candidates log in to select the date, time and location for exam.
Many testing centers throughout California, the US, even Worldwide.
Study materials and courses found on CCIDC website.
Candidates are Certified once the following have been completed.
- Bi-Annual Certification fees are received
- New CID Survey completed
- Certification Number is assigned.
Upon completion New CIDs will receive:
- Certified Interior Designer Information Binder
- CID Certificate
- Verification Letter with CID#
- CID ID-Card and Stamp (if ordered), approximately 6 – 8 weeks later.
There are two testing periods per year:
- Spring: May 1 – 31st
- Fall: October 1 – 31st
Provided by CCIDC:
The “Official” IDEX® California Study Guide
A free booklet prepared by CCIDC. Provides background information on the IDEX® California exam, including the schedule, rules, release of results, exam format, content, sample questions and an FAQ (not intended to be a ‘study manual’).
Provided by Third-Party Vendors:
For study materials and classes, please refer to a list of third-party vendors on the CCIDC website, under the Candidates menu – IDEX® California Exam Information.
For accuracy and fairness, a Matriculation expert reviews/qualifies each exam.
Exams scheduled all 31 days, tests not verifiable until last exam submitted.
Test results provided 3-5 weeks after last day of test month.
Email sent with Pass/Fail status when results made available.
Letter with specific scores sent USPS.
IDEX Certificate mailed to passing candidates.
Retakes scheduled as soon as next testing period.
Notice to retake and payment due: March 1st Spring IDEX or August 1st Fall IDEX.
No, Passing the IDEX® California does NOT mean candidates are automatically Certified!
- Path 1 Candidates files held until Candidate provides proof of completion of qualifications.
- All other Candidates must complete the certification process, and be given their CID number/stamp.
The Compliance Committee reviews and verifies information collected by CCIDC.
- Congratulations letter sent upon approval and prompt to pay the Bi-Annual Certification Fees.
- Candidates have 1 year from letter date to complete certification.