Professional Organizations for Interior Design Students at The Art Institute Online

By: Michael Grefe, Associate Professor, Interior Design Filed under: Interior Design

March 14, 2018

Interior Design Professional Organizations

Joining a professional organization is the first step for an interior design student to gain exposure to the profession, keep current with latest design trends, help with networking and find local career opportunities.

There are many options for Interior Design Students such as joining ASID, IIDA and IDS, which are the most well-known and most popular. ASID and IIDA are open for membership to any student in a four-year, CIDA-accredited interior design program.

ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) was founded in 1975 and is the oldest, largest and only multi-disciplinary professional organization for interior designers, interior design students, suppliers and manufacturers. The organization provides extensive services such as networking events, education, National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam preparation and help with portfolios. The organization has competitions, prizes, awards and scholarships to further the advancement of Interior Design application and theories.

The Art Institute Online has an online student group ASID chapter that has recurring meetings and provides camaraderie, additional insight into the profession, competitions and scholarships as well as an annual Career Week Conference typically in April with guest speakers on various industry topics. The conference lasts four days, Monday through Thursday, with at least one guest speaker per night. Students can run for various positions in the club, such as student chapter president. Interior Design students at The Art Institute Online receive information on joining the student chapter and Career Week through announcements in the Brightspace classroom.

IIDA (The International Interior Design Association) was founded in 1994 and focuses on commercial design with a global perspective. They have a network of 15,000+ members such as design professionals, industry affiliates, educators and students across 58 countries. They advocate for design education, legislation, leadership and community outreach in advancing the profession.

IDS (The Interior Design Society) is an independent professional organization with over 2,000 members. It is the largest design organization solely dedicated to serving the residential interior design industry. IDS was founded in 1973 by the National Home Furnishings Association (NHFA) to support interior designers based within furniture stores as well as licensed interior designers nationwide. The IDS National headquarters is located in High Point, NC and the organization is open to any student in a two or four-year interior design program.

Two other professional organizations that Interior Design students should be aware of are CIDQ (Council for Interior Design Qualification) and IDEC (Interior Design Educators Council), which both advance excellence in interior design education and professionalism, standards and competency in the design profession. CIDQ provides testing and licensing standards for the interior design profession to promote the health, life safety, and welfare of the public by establishing standards for the profession. CIDQ offers the NCIDQ examination* that leads to state licensure as a certified Interior Designer in 25 states in the United States. The exam also serves as a requirement for membership for ASID, IIDA and IDEC. NCIDQ Certification is the recognized hallmark of a highly qualified interior and so far, only 30,000 people around the world have earned the NCIDQ Certification.

IDEC (Interior Design Educators Council) founded in 1963 provides educators, practitioners, schools and organizations the improvement of standards for professionalism in the interior environment. Membership is limited to high school teachers, college educators, graduate students and Industry affiliates in the profession.

The importance of joining a professional organization like ASID or IIDA cannot be stressed highly enough since they have listservs for open job postings or internships. Another benefit for students is learning about the latest policies, codes and ethics so they will understand the core values of their profession.

*The Art Institute Online does not guarantee third-party certification/licensure. Outside agencies control the requirements for taking and passing certification/licensing exams and are subject to change without notice to The Art Institute Online


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By: Michael Grefe, Associate Professor, Interior Design Filed under: Interior Design

March 14, 2018

interior design creative interior design