The health, safety, and welfare of our clients are the most critical elements of a successful design project. Completing the NCIDQ is the industry gold standard and pathway for interior designers to gain expertise and knowledge in this area.[1]

Patricia Paulson

On March 14, Patricia (Trisha) Paulson, Ambassador for NCIDQ & Professional Designer at HDR, Inc., gave a presentation on the importance of the NCIDQ certification and discussed some of the updates that have occurred since 2017. One of the primary changes is that the entire exam is now completed digitally and there is no longer a hand drawing component. She shared the statistic that 65 percent of applicants passed the test in 2017(the year it went digital) and there was a 17 percent increase over the prior year. There are also changes in the work experience and educational requirements to sit for the exam, which can be found on the CIDQ website. You can also look up pass rates for the different schools and design programs. When you are ready to start down this path, there are numerous resources available to assist in studying for the exam. There are three primary sections:

  1. IDFX (Interior Design Fundamental Exam) — 125 multiple choice questions/3 hours to complete.
  2. IDPX (Interior Design Professional Exam) — 185 multiple choice questions/4 hours to complete.
  3. Practicum — 120 advanced question types such as; fill in the blank, hot spot, drag and place/4hours to complete[2]

Trisha encouraged applicants to go online and do the practice exams. During the exam, she advised to read the case studies from top to bottom before recording your answer and do not “over answer” the questions. Carefully study and follow the building code requirements and standards. The NCIDQ codes may be different and more stringent than actual building codes.

Check out these exciting NCIDQ Exam accomplishmentsas published in the CIDQ Winter 2019 newsletter:

  • Added 1,200 new certificate holders, a 4.5% increase over 2017
  • Offered immediate preliminary scoring to IDFX and IDPX exam takers for the first time ever
  • Held our largest multiple choice item writing session ever with 800 questions created
  • Delivered 3 Practice Quizzes, one for each section of the NCIDQ exam
  • Created 3 new case studies for the Spring 2019 Practicum
  • Completed French translations of all three sections of the NCIDQ exam for delivery in Spring 2019[3]

The window is now open to apply and sit for the next exam, which will be in October. July 15, 2019 is the deadline. Everything you need to know about the fees, cancellation rules and other details can be found at

MORE NEWS FROM CIDQ: On February 4, 2019, the official definition of Interior Design has changed. Here is a link to the press release:


[2]NCIDQ examination handout
[3]CIDQ Winter 2019 newsletter