ID Connections

Attention, students! The standards are changing for membership

Published by Julia Salerno, March 31, 2014.

In order to become an interior designer in Canada, you must meet the national standards set by Interior Designers of Canada (IDC) and its nine provincial regulatory bodies. These standards include specific education, experience and examination requirements.

Changes to the requirements have been made in response to several factors:

The changes will be phased in over the next few years in order to bring Canada in line with North American industry standards.

Sound daunting? Not to worry. The national standards for membership with IDC’s nine provincial regulatory bodies are outlined below -  


Three year diploma programs will be phased out and four year degree programs will become the minimum education standard.

 Bachelor’s Degree Requirement

As of January 1, 2015, a four year baccalaureate will be the minimum education requirement.

CIDA Accredited Bachelor’s Degree Program

As of January 1, 2017, a baccalaureate degree that has been recognized by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) will be the minimum education requirement.

What does this mean for you?

Are you thinking about pursuing higher education in interior design? 
If so, you must choose a CIDA accredited degree program in order for your credentials to be recognized. 

Are you currently enrolled in a degree program not recognized by CIDA?

If so, you must join your provincial association by January 1, 2020 in order for your credentials to be recognized.



 After graduating from a recognized interior design program, prospective interior designers must gain supervised work experience to ensure that they acquire the skills they will need to practice interior design.

 Upon graduating from a recognized interior design program, individuals must obtain a prescribed amount of supervised work experience. The supervisor must be one of the following:

  • A Registered member  of his or her provincial association
  • A licensed architect who provides interior design services
  • An NCIDQ certificate holder
  • If the supervisor does not meet one of the above criteria, a percentage of hours worked will still be counted towards mandatory supervised work experience. Please refer to the bottom portion of this chart.


 Intern members who have met the education and experience requirements must complete the final step to become an interior designer: examination. The Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ) is the recognized examination body throughout North America. The NCIDQ examinations test that an applicant has the knowledge and experience necessary to create interior spaces that are functional and safe.

 The NCIDQ examination consists of two multiple choice sections and a drawing practicum, all focused on health, safety and welfare. While interior designers must possess knowledge in many areas, such as accounting, human resources and aesthetics, the NCIDQ examination tests knowledge in only those areas that relate to health, safety and welfare.

 In 2013, CIDQ deployed two new multiple choice exams – IDFX (Interior Design Fundamentals) and IDPX (Interior Design Professional Exam) – that will be delivered exclusively in a computer-based format.

 Section 1 of the exam – IDFX (Interior Design Fundamentals Exam) - can be challenged before completion of supervised work experience. In fact, you are eligible to write it the day that you graduate. Sections 2 and 3 – IDPX (Interior Design Professional Exam) and PRAC (Interior Design Practicum) must be written after completing supervised work experience.

 To learn more about the exam, visit the NCIDQ website.

 To see a chart outlining how the changes will be phased in, click here.


For more information on the changing standards and how they pertain to you, please contact your provincial association.

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