Thought Starters

QOTW 2013: Week 39: Does Professional Accreditation change the game for Interior Designers?

Interior Design Professional AccreditationSo, you finally have your accreditation. Now what?

Anyone who knows me is aware, when I was younger, of how I felt about my professional association. Mind you, they had their challenges but even so, I had my opinion of their ability to represent our profession. At the time I decided I had no real reason to gain any sort of professional accreditation. I was working and doing well but things changed. I am still successful, however, I finally recognized that if for any reason I choose to work anywhere else in North America or even for myself without my professional accreditation I am handcuffed. Even in my own province.

The game changed for me.

And I am not alone.


When you hire an Interior Designer does their accreditation even matter?

Professional accreditation is really the only proof that an Interior Designer understands the basics of what it takes to operate at a minimum level in their field of expertise. Without a strong work ethic and continued skills development professional accreditation is not unlike a hammer. It can’t swing itself and if it gets into the wrong hands it can do some serious damage.

It’s simply a benchmark of core competency.

Having said that competency is not really a benchmark. It is a minimum requirement to a basic set of skills. Gaining professional accreditation simply tells a professional that they are capable of operating at a basic level of competency in their industry.

That’s about it.

Sound harsh?

It’s not meant to be but I can assure you that some people may see it that way.

As Interior Designers, before becoming accredited we work hard at growing our knowledge base and once accredited we must continue to do so, however, now our professional development is monitored. To say we are personally self-regulated is true however as an organization we are not legally bound by regulation. Regardless, like many professional organizations if we don’t adhere to the guidelines of our associations requirements for maintaining our continuing education we can lose our good standing.


Can we lose our professional accreditation?

Not really but as Interior Designers who wants to share the stage with the other professions in our field of expertise we need to maintain our professional standing and continuing education is a key ingredient to our success.

Many of our clients don’t understand this point or the impact it has on our profession as a whole.

Even though an Interior Designer’s professional standing is still self-monitored in most of Canada we hope not for much longer. In the meantime our governing bodies, IDC and ARIDO help keep the NCIDQ Certified and Intern Interior Designers on the professional development path; however, they can only do so much with respect to managing professional practice. The rest is up to us as Interior Designers to ensure we hold ourselves accountable for our own professional development no matter how seasoned or experienced we think we are.


How can you, our clients, ensure you get credible services?

Until such time as there is a Practice Act in place, you as a potential client, should continue to seek the expertise that comes with credible experience. Any Interior Designer who is worth your time and effort will dedicate a portion of their time ensuring their professional development remains a priority regardless of their professional standing. You can be assured that a Registered Interior Designer has not only the qualifications to take on your project but has made continuing education a priority in order to maintain the professional development requirements of their respective professional associations.

We don’t have to explain the value proposition to you further.

So, the next time you are thinking about hiring an Interior Design professional you may want to ask a few key questions beyond gaining a basic understanding of their professional experience.

Here are a few examples:

  1. What is your firm’s learning and development policy?
  2. How do you support your design professionals to maintain their good standing in their associations?
  3. Does your senior leadership volunteer its expertise to its industry? If so, what benefits are gained from a learning and development perspective?
  4. How does your firm support the growth of your professional association?

While these question don’t offer answers for assessing the specific skills to solve your design problem they do raise the bar for the service model you will get in return.

The other way to look at it is you, as the client, can work in the world of the lowest common denominator or you can choose to raise the bar yourselves. By doing so, you increase your chances of getting top notch talent and top notch services.

Besides, who doesn’t want the best?

It’s out there.


That brings us to today’s quote.

Anthony J D’Angelo founded collegiate empowerment which provides guidance to students in the US through coaching and programs geared to motivated college students who want to improve their chances at graduating from their institutions. The idea that these folks care about education and understand its importance to the health of the world’s economy, future and the future of our educational system is perfect for this week’s quote. Take it away Mr. D’Angelo.

Interior Design Professional Accreditation



If that doesn’t brighten your day then maybe this will.

Interior Design Professional Accreditation
















Have a great day and an awesome week.

If you want to read last week’s quote simply click here.






About this Author: Ralph Dopping (199 Posts)

A quirky sense-o-humour coupled with an indelible sense of stylish sarcasm makes it difficult to take the world too seriously doesn't it? My faves: fun, passion and hard work. I work here everyday:


Your post really puts some other questions in my mind, Ralph. Questions like the value of professional accreditation? (I have always wondered the value. I see degrees as just worthless. The world only seems to care about the numbers and the degrees - and even the school you attended, to judge).


It's all about learning. I do understand that for some professions, it is necessary to have professional accreditation (like doctors?) How can you trust your life with them? But, then again, having a degree doesn't mean he/she is a good doctor who knows what to do. There is a big difference from getting top grades in medical exam and knowing how to treat the patient (customer experience + using medical knowledge properly).


We have to work on redefining education. Make it about innovation. Most schools these days don't teach kids to innovate. They don't teach them to question the things they see - to develop their curiosity. Instead the schools force them to focus on something as meaningless as numbers (schools are reinforcing the idea that people who get better grades are better - better humans. Not true).


Sorry about the rant ;) I just get so frustrated when I hear about the educational system. So many flaws to be fixed. Perhaps I can help to "fix" it - improve it, one day.


  1. [...] does the young professional think? Who is influencing them? It’s us. The “experienced” ones. What are we teaching them? Are we simply propagating the cycle? Like the 2nd Amendment, by [...]

  2. [...] Professional accreditation is one way to help regulate the level of professionalism in our industry however until the profession is legislated we will have to continue to work diligently to manage public perception. [...]