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In the Spotlight

Friday, July 30, 2010

In the Spotlight: Interior Design Setting the Bar Higher

All of the interior design instructors at Clover Park Technical College (CPTC) hold the prestigious National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) certificate, a rare distinction for the only Interior Design Program in Pierce County. The certification matters to discriminating students looking to choose an excellent course of study and to clients shopping for top-quality interior design services.

NCIDQ certification means the holder is trained in the protection of public health, safety, and welfare as it relates to building interiors. It means a minimum of six years of specialized education and experience. It means successfully completing a rigorous two-day exam. CPTC’s own Interior Design instructors, Sunny Houser and Julie Watts, recently passed the exam in their first sitting, a rarity for most who take it.

Interior Design Instructions (left to right) Michael Bowman, Julie Watts, Sunny Houser

The exam is composed of three sections:
  • Section 1: Codes, Building Systems, and Construction Standards
  • Section 2: Design Application, Project Coordination, and Professional Practice
  • Section 3: Interior Design Practicum
The NCIDQ Certificate is required for professional membership in the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), and Interior Designers of Canada (IDC).

It takes designers three years of education and three years of experience in order to qualify to take the NCIDQ test. CPTC Interior Design students can accumulate the required time with any of the College’s three certified instructors who have been through the six-year NCIDQ process.

Architects write much of the NCIDQ test, and many take the test as well, adding to the hand-and-glove relationship between architects and interior designers. NCIDQ certification indicates extensive, measurable knowledge of and experience in not simply the aesthetic component, but the building codes component of interior design, as well.

In a down economy and a crowded employment field, NCIDQ certification, quite simply, gives an edge in a competitive job market, a market that is international. Those at home or abroad interested in high caliber interior designers can check to see who has NCIDQ certification through the website, www.ncidq.org.

Students at Clover Park Technical College who complete the Interior Design Program may go right to work, but they also have the option of transferring to Evergreen State College or Bellevue College to complete a four-year degree, or to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising located in San Francisco or L.A. In addition, for those who may not stay in the state of Washington, it is important to note that successful completion of the NCIDQ examination is required for professional registration in 26 states and Canadian provinces that have enacted licensing or certification statutes.

Once the Interior Design Program is completed, CPTC graduates’ hardest task is deciding which career path to choose. Whether working in the public sector (hospitality, healthcare, retail, government, etc.), or private (residential), the options are many. For example, from redesigning the emergency departments of a hospital to working with restaurants, hotels, or resorts, the creative professional challenges are exciting (see sidebar, “Interior Design Career Paths”). With skills that are transferable and the variety of areas that call for interior design talent (and NCIDQ certification), few lines of work could boast being more recession-proof.

According to industry officials, a 19 percent growth rate is forecast for the interior design industry for the next eight years. While many areas of the economy are languishing, the trend seems to be to do more with scant budgets – redesign!

So for the newly-certified Interior Design faculty, Julie Watts and Sunny Houser (and let us not neglect to mention Michael Bowman, who already has his NCIDQ certificate), kudos, applause – and one great huzzah!

Dianne Bunnell
Clover Park Technical College


* Financial Institutions
* Professional Office Space
* Industrial Facilities/Complexes
* Public and Community Spaces
* Transportation Terminals
* Healthcare Systems
* Civil Engineering Systems

* Corporations
* Medical Institutions
* Educational Institutions
* Tenant Improvement Management
* Interior Design Construction
* Architecture/Engineering
* Operations Management
* Risk Management

* Hospitals
* Surgery Centers
* Specialty Outpatient Facilities
* Cancer Centers
* Senior Living Communities
* Wellness & Rehabilitation Centers
* Satellite Hospitals
* Children’s Hospitals
* Women’s Centers
* Clinical Research Buildings

* Hotels
* Resorts and Retreats
* Restaurants and Bars
* Country Clubs and Athletic Clubs
* Trains, Cruise Ships and Airplanes
* Amusement Parks and Entertainment Venues
* Convention and Conference CentersProfessional Office Space

* Schools
* Colleges and Universities
* Museums
* Libraries
* Recreational Areas
* Family Service Centers
* Religious Facilities

* Shopping Centers
* Food Courts
* Theaters
* Lifestyle Villages
* Retail Management Offices
* Spas and Salons
* Restaurants
* Specialty Stores
* University-Related Retail

* Sustainable (Green) Design
* ADAAG Specialist
* and more…

Information from www.iida.org
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