CIDA Accreditation

Professional level programs accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) voluntarily place themselves before the scrutiny of the profession to ensure that students receive an education that will serve them not only during their time at school, but also prepare them for future professional growth.

The professional standards set forth by CIDA are used to evaluate interior design programs that prepare students for entry-level interior design practice and position them for future professional growth. The Council is firmly committed to setting high standards for interior design education, challenging others to meet and exceed those standards and seeking ways to continuously elevate and evolve the standards, thus significantly contributing to the advanced professionalism of the interior design field.

In order to be accredited, a program must comply or partially comply with all 16 standards identified by the council.

  • Standard 1. Mission, Goals, and Curriculum The interior design program has a mission statement that describes the scope and purpose of the program. Program goals are derived from the mission statement and the curriculum is structured to achieve these goals.
  • Standard 2. Global Perspective for Design Entry-level interior designers have a global view and weigh design decisions within the parameters of ecological, socio-economic, and cultural contexts. 
  • Standard 3. Human-centered Design The work of interior designers is informed by knowledge of human factors and theories of human behavior related to the built environment. 
  • Standard 4. Design Process Entry-level interior designers need to apply all aspects of the design process to creative problem solving. Design process enables designers to identify and explore complex problems and generate creative solutions that optimize the human experience within the interior environment. 
  • Standard 5. Collaboration Entry-level interior designers engage in multi-disciplinary collaboration. 
  • Standard 6. Communication Entry-level interior designers are effective communicators. 
  • Standard 7. Professionalism and Business Practice Entry-level interior designers use ethical and accepted standards of practice, are committed to professional development and the industry, and understand the value of their contribution to the built environment.
  • Standard 8. History Entry-level interior designers apply knowledge of interiors, architecture, decorative arts, and art within a historical and cultural context. 
  • Standard 9. Space and Form Entry-level interior designers apply elements and principles of two- and three-dimensional design.
  • Standard 10. Color Entry-level interior designers apply color principles and theories.
  • Standard 11. Furniture, Fixtures, Equipment, and Finish Materials Entry-level interior designers select and specify furniture, fixtures, equipment and finish materials in interior spaces.
  • Standard 12. Environmental Systems Entry-level interior designers use the principles of lighting, acoustics, thermal comfort, and indoor air quality to enhance the health, safety, welfare, and performance of building occupants. 
  • Standard 13. Building Systems and Interior Construction Entry-level interior designers have knowledge of building systems and interior construction. 
  • Standard 14. Regulations and Guidelines Entry-level interior designers use laws, codes, standards, and guidelines that impact the design of interior spaces. 
  • Standard 15. Assessment and Accountability The interior design program engages in systematic program assessment contributing to ongoing program improvement. Additionally, the program must provide clear, consistent, and reliable information about its mission and requirements to the public. 
  • Standard 16. Support and Resources The interior design program must have a sufficient number of qualified faculty members, as well as adequate administrative support and resources, to achieve program goals.