The California Council for Interior Design Certification is due to be reviewed by the California Joint Legislative Sunset Review Committee in March.
Why should we care?
PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER has posted several times before that, since California is the largest state in the Union and they have the largest number of interior designers…both qualified and self-proclaimed, what goes on in regard to the profession of Interior Design in that state affects all of us.
Unfortunately, IN MY NOT SO HUMBLE OPINION, the current quasi-private voluntary self-certification system that California has implemented is flawed on several levels. The most prominent flaw being that it stands in direct conflict with the regulatory effort of the other 49 states in the Union as they endeavor to implement legal recognition for those designers who have earned the right to be recognized for their skills and knowledge required to legally protect the Health Safety and Welfare of the public. You see California is unique in that it has its own qualifying exam, the IDEX. An exam that the CCIDC admits virtually anybody can qualify to take. It seems that education and experience do not count for much if anything. Let’s just say that the bar to claim California CID credentials has been intentionally lowered so as not to be an “unreasonable barrier” to become a certified interior designer.
Now I will admit that the overarching concept of a profession that self-regulates is a positive attribute of California’s Interior Design Certification model. But that’s it. The rest has devolved into a weak (at best) validation process for anybody with the time and money who would like to buy the CID credential.
Some brief history. Upon its inception in 1991 the CCIDC allowed the NCIDQ to be one of the qualifying exams for certification. However the low pass rates and high costs for the NCIDQ proved problematic for the CCIDC and its subsequent infiltration of anti-ID regulation proponents- AKA the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) and the Interior Design Society (who administers the equally flacid CQRID exam). In the anti-regulatory free market political environment of the time (and let’s not forget the sunny location) the tide was turning against the NCDQ and its professional supporters ASID and IIDA. In their 2003 Sunset Review the CCIDC was provided an out to rethink its testing model
“After the last Sunset Review for CCIDC in 2003, the legislature amended Section 5811 of the BPC to read as follows:
“5811. An interior design organization issuing stamps under Section 5801 shall provide the Joint Committee on Boards, Commissions, and Consumer Protection by September 1. 2008, a report that reviews and assesses the costs and benefits associated with the California Code and Regulations Examination (CCRE) and explores feasible alternatives to that examination.”
So under the guise of the CCRE exam being usurped by newer codes the CCIDC saw an opportunity to completely sidestep the NCIDQ and create its own exam-the IDEX. Which they claim tests its candidates on California specific seismic, Title 24, and other supposed unique building codes. Even though California C.I.D.’s are not allowed to sign and seal any permit documents entailing structural or seismic work.
In 2008 the CCIDC decided to create their own exam the IDEX with the tacit reasoning that other interior design professional exams did not adequately address California specific codes – “thus removing significant costs and barriers to entry to the profession”. With pass rates between 8 and 9 of every 10 test candidates…let me repeat 84%-94% of all test takers (88% Ave. over the past 3 years) pass the IDEX exam…So in this regard the CCIDC has been very successful at “removing barriers to entry into the profession”. Some “profession” that is- why even bother?
While the marginal professional standards by which the CCIDC claims its certified designer comply is concerning there does not appear to be much benefit to the credential once it is paid for. The CCIDC admits that its certificate holders are often denied building permits and that their credential is often not recognized as legitimate by local code officials. Gee I wonder why? Could it be that the code officials are actually dubious of the patently lowered standards to obtain their quasi-professional credential? Which also is the trademarked credential Certified Interior Decorator (http://www.cidinternational.org/ ) BUT WHO’S COUNTING?
So with that California has created what appears to this ID regulation wonk as an ineffective standard for interior design professional status that stands directly in the way of any type of nationwide reciprocal Interior Design regulation.
NOTE TO CALIFORNIA JOINT LEGISLATIVE SUNSET REVIEW COMMITTEE: If you are going to have professional standards why not make the candidates prove that they have actually earned the right to sit for an exam that properly vets that knowledge? Reinstate the NCIDQ as a qualifier for California CID’s and at least raise the bar a notch or two…or will that exceed the acceptable height for seismic codes?
Here is a link to the CCIDC’s response to the usual Sunset Review Commission queries.