Since I only have my bachelor's degree with no work experience in the industry , I can't call myself an interior designer where I live. This is because certain states have legislature that states you can only refer to yourself as an interior designer if you are licensed through the CIDQ (Council for Interior Design Qualification).
Bummer right? Not quite. I can still design and style spaces under the title, Interior Decorator. I basically can't knock down walls for clients until I am licensed. I can prime/paint walls, re-design a space with existing furniture or source new furniture/fixtures and style the space with decor.
I have been trying to land a job in my field for a while now and to no avail. A lot of opportunities have come around where they offer part-time positions or even non-paid internships. Neither is feasible for someone like me who has a little family to provide for. So, I'm taking matters into my own hands by taking and passing the first part of the NCIDQ exam in hopes of spring-boarding my career to life (while consistently job-hunting).
NCIDQ stands for: National Council of Interior Design Qualification.
The NCIDQ exam is a three-part certification exam that stands between me being a licensed interior designer.
By passing this exam, you are showing that you have the education, experience, and knowledge proficiency to be a licensed interior designer and "...assures interior designers are competent to meet industry standards not only for aesthetics but also for public health, safety and welfare." - cidq.org
There are many designers who do not to take this exam because it is:
E X P E N S I V E!
Yup. There's that GIF again because that's what you are doing... for good cause, though.
For the whole exam, the exam fees are almost $1,100! This isn't including the application fee of $225 if you want to take them all together (hahahaha....nah, not I).
Here's the break down of the exams:
IDFX: (Interior Design Fundamentals Exam)- this exam tests the foundation stuff you learned in school or ,if you are like me, didn't learn in school, but from the infamous Ballast book. You are eligible to take this test upon completion of your Bachelor's degree in Interior Design or Architecture, no design work experience is required.
IDPX: (Interior Design Professional Exam)- this exam requires you to have about (2) two years (3,520 hours) of qualified work experience under an interior designer who holds a NCIDQ certification, an architect that has interior design services and, obviously, a Bachelor's degree; same as above. (There are other routes that are considered qualified work experience, but it will take longer through the other paths).
Practicum- this is all about drafting. As of this year, the Practicum has went under a revamp as Practicum 2.0 which introduces computer aided drafting versus hand-drafting. There isn't much info on this right now as this version is being used for the first time on the exams next month. This part is important as it tests your ability to apply your knowledge of the best practices (building codes, proper clearances...) in Interior Design into an efficient floor plan.
I'll be honest, I don't like studying, but I know I need to get into the mood and finish reading and take notes as I go and take as many practice test as possible. The multiple choice questions ask what is the most practical choice-the best practices based on building codes and laws. Like most tests these days, the multiple choice questions will have choices that all sound correct, but the trick is to pick which is the MOST correct 😒😒😒.
All the side-eyes.
If you are currently studying for the NCIDQ tests or any test for that matter, what are your favorite tools to use to stay on track? Do you plan when you will have a certain chapter completed by or just wing it? Special accessories or phone apps?
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