The IDPC:Lowering Expectations for Interior Designers Nationwide


This is another amusing post by the IDPC of a frustrated designer wannabe that seems to have failed the NCIDQ exam but seems to excel at bitching and moaning.

Some, like “frustrated” sees the NCIDQ as an evil plot to exclude. PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER sees the NCIDQ as “proof of basic competencies which will allow you to be considered for professional status.”

Life would be grand if we did not have to take tests…….Hey look there’s a unicorn and a rainbow…….Awwwwwwwww!

13 responses to “The IDPC:Lowering Expectations for Interior Designers Nationwide”

  1. Holly Go Lightly Avatar
    Holly Go Lightly

    I wouldn’t dismiss this post out of hand. Interior Design & Architecture Firms have a bad habit of “eating their young”.

    They churn through “interns” and young designers at an alarming rate but never, ever offer them a job.

    This is not unique to the Interior Design and Architecture Industry, but has become rampant throughout the “new reality” of work in America.

    The problem is, that the colleges and then testing agencies like NCIDQ give a false expectation that all you have to do to become successful is to just get a degree ($$), take a test ($$) and you are off to a great career.

    Not always the case, and I’m not sure K-State is giving refunds to students who can not get even an interview, much less a job offer.

    And with Interior Design, these students become infuriated (as do the Professors) when Art Majors with connections have the ability to start their own Interior Design Firm.


  2. I did not dismiss it out of hand….I would not waste the effort. No Holly only for-profit art schools would be unethical enough to offer a money back promise of job placement on their supposed degrees. And no I do not get infuriated when an art major with connections starts their own firm. That is life…much like being asked to take an exam to prove you are competent.


  3. I think you mean there is a DOUBLE RAINBOW instead! Wooooowwwwwww!


  4. Mike:

    Go to Google and type in “Manhattan Kansas Interior Designers”

    Are you happy with the result?

    I respect your passion, but you have an Architecture Degree from Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

    Maybe you should advise your students to forget about getting an Interior Design Degree. Get an Architecture Degree. Get licensed. And, if you have the “natural talent” to make it in RESIDENTIAL INTERIOR DESIGN then guess what? You have the best of both worlds. You are licensed, so you can put your diploma and certificates on the wall in your office “just like an MD’, but you can also “kick ass” on HGTV, Oprah or whatever venue y0u choose.

    Why advise your students to fight the battle to “get respect” as an Interior Designer, because it’s not going to happen.


  5. Well Lightly I Googled “Manhattan Kansas Interior Designers” and I am quite pleased with the result. I am not quite sure why I should feel otherwise so maybe I missed your point. Did you have one? Oh and I tell my students that in order to distinguish themselves from those interior designers that claim a birthright to their profession they will need to learn the trade and take an exam. However I also tell them that if they simply want to be interior decorators that that is their choice….but they will surrender the right to call themselves certified professionals. Funny they seeem to be OK with that explaination. What is your problem?


  6. I read the rant from the student that attended the same design school that I did. I find it really sad, but unfortunately not unusual, that people think that just because you’ve gotten your degree, and done your internship that you should be guaranteed anything. What happened to self-determination? If you take a test and fail, but it’s what you really, really, want to do- study hard and take the test AGAIN! Do you have any idea how many law students don’t pass the bar exam on their first try? A saying by Vince Lombardi sums it up: ” The difference between a successful person and others isn’t a lack of strength or lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will.” Stop whining and start working.


  7. Could not agree more Cathy. THANKS FOR THE QUOTE!


  8. Maureen Soules, CID, IIDA Avatar
    Maureen Soules, CID, IIDA

    Hi Mike!
    As I’ve posted on a LinkedIn discussion, I took the NCIDQ when it was still 6 sections. I failed the scenario 3 times, but appealed the third and passed WITH A PERFECT SCORE. How could this happen?!? Does the NCIDQ have problems? Absolutely. Is it the best measure of basic skills for professional status? Unfortunately, I have to say yes. I would love to see a current exam to see if any of the problems I had to overcome have been resolved. With the scenario I appealed, there was nothing wrong with the exam; the problem was with the person grading it. I failed it for three reasons:
    My bathroom was not ADA compliant.( It was.)
    My furniture symbols were not to scale (I used a template.) and
    No symbols in my drawing were identified ( I used legend keys that they didn’t grade at all.)
    Not only did I win my appeal, but I spent $75.00 proving their grading system failed. Did I get my money back? Yeah, right. It was blatently obvious that the person grading my exam was a residential designer because they didn’t know the first thing about a handicapped bathroom. This person took points off because I didn’t show wood grain on my tables. They obviously didn’t know what a legend was and did not know how to cross-reference it to the drawing. I was furious.

    I wholeheartedly agree with you that there MUST be a national, standardized exam that grades basic competencies. Unless the NCIDQ has been seriously revamped along with a better and more thorough rubric for the people grading it, we will continue to see gripes like this.


  9. Thanks for the thoughtfull comments. I did help grade this fall’s round of exams and will say that I was impressed with the process. I know the test has been changed considerably in the last year and cannot say what the weaknesses with the old exam were. I have heard complaints/issues such as yours and that is what inspired the revamped test and grading process. This time each test was reviewed twice and if the grades conflicted it was reviewed by a 3rd. Sounds like you may have had one shot which is unfortunate. The rubric for the practicum portion was based on functional and code parameters. There was very little, if any, subjective assessment which is always a problem. I think everybody out there has a testing horror story. I failed the NCQLP lighting certification exam by one point and when I went to retake it one year later they wanted me to resubmit the entire app. including 3 letters of reference- again. When I complained that I would not expect my references to give up time again to write a letter for me and that I was the same qualified person that they allowed to take the test a year prior I was told that a lot can change in one year and that I may have “served jail time”. I told them to stick their exam where the certified light doesn’t shine.
    Anyway my point with my rants and calling the perpetual whiners out is that the system is not perfect and is only as good as other professionals are willing to make it. It is far too easy to complain- it is incredibly difficult to improve the model. From my experience there are a lot of dedicated people trying very hard to do just that. Thanks again for chiming in.


  10. Sunday NY Times Pullout Section featuring:
    Five Interior Designers-Fifty Photos
    -Jonathan Adler
    -Thom Filicia
    -Laura Kirar
    -Kelly Wearstler
    -Vincente Wolf

    Not one of them is a “Professional” by your standards.


  11. Not my standards but societal standards. Professional status is not self-proclaimed but earned and validated. That is not to say they do not act “professional” I am sure they do. But they cannot prove that they have earned professional status. Now if you came here claiming that I do not consider them to be “interior designers” you would be wrong again. They can make that claim and I actually support their right to do so. Mr. Wolf in fact is one of the fathers of “interior design” and for me, or any of my “professional” peers, to say that he is not an interior designer is unjust.

    Thanks for the post.

    1pro·fes·sion·al adj \prə-ˈfesh-nəl, -ˈfe-shə-nəl\
    Definition of PROFESSIONAL
    1a : of, relating to, or characteristic of a profession b : engaged in one of the learned professions c (1) : characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession (2) : exhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally businesslike manner in the workplace
    2a : participating for gain or livelihood in an activity or field of endeavor often engaged in by amateurs b : having a particular profession as a permanent career c : engaged in by persons receiving financial return
    3: following a line of conduct as though it were a profession

    — pro·fes·sion·al·ly adverb

    Simply acting professional does not make one a “professional”


  12. mike u are a butt


    1. Thank you for those kind words. I am glad that you found my comments enlightening and inspirational.


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