What is the NCIDQ Test?

The National Council for Interior Design Qualifications (NCIDQ) test is conducted by the council of the same name. It is a non-profit organization which qualifies interior designers with the coveted NCIDQ certificate which is a valued credential in the world of interior design.

The NCIDQ regularly updates the test content to keep level with constantly changing development in the science and technology. Although the NCIDQ exam tests the technical knowledge base of the candidates, there is a lot of stress on life safety, public health and welfare awareness. The test is conducted twice a year over a period of 2 days at a time. The NCIDQ test consists of three parts:

  • Section 1: Construction standards, building systems and codes comprising 150 multiple-choice questions.

  • Section 2: Project coordination, design application and professional practice comprising 150 multiple-choice questions.

  • Section 3: Interior Design Practicum: A day-long exam covering various aspects of interior design such as lighting design, space planning, life safety, egress, washroom/restroom design, mill work and systems integration.


The main requirements for applying for the NCIDQ test is that education and work experience should be completed according to the guidelines laid out by the NCIDQ council.

Eligibility and Qualification

The eligibility and qualification for the NCIDQ test are in two categories – education and work experience.

  • Education: The education proof submitted by the applicant should be complete and with college credits. Non-credit or audit courses are not allowed. The relevant course-related documentation should be submitted along with copies of course catalogs issued at the beginning of the course. Architectural qualification accredited by CACB or NAAB are sufficient qualifications for eligibility.

  • Work Experience: The work experience shown for eligibility and qualification for the NCIDQ test can be full-time or part time. However, the work should have been done under a NCIDQ certified individual. Teaching qualification is not considered for eligibility.


  • The first important step to preparing for the NCIDQ test is to ensure that you are aware of the latest format. This can be obtained from the NCIDQ website.
  • There is a lot of study material and guides available online. This study material is both free and chargeable. As the reliability of the sources may not be known, it is advisable to have it checked by a qualified person before studying.
  • Alternatively, you can buy books and guides from bookstores which will give a comprehensive overview of the subject along with mock test papers with answers.
  • You can also enroll for a coaching class which may be being conducted in your locality.


The ranking is done section-wise. Sections 1 and 2 are done by a computer with grading between 200 and 800. Section 3 is evaluated manually by two or more independent graders for the same paper.

Exams Article Archive