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. Program Identity and Curriculum - The interior design program provides a professional-level education that prepares graduates for entry-level practice and advanced study. The program has a mission, educational philosophy, and goals appropriate to its context. The program engages in on-going assessment and planning ensuring the curriculum and resources are structured to achieve its goals. The public is able to access understandable and reliable information about the program.
  • Standard 2. Faculty and Administration - The interior design program has an effective administrative structure, as well as adequate and appropriate faculty and administrative staff to successfully lead and deliver the program.
  • Standard 3. Learning Environment and Resources - The interior design program has adequate facilities and resources to achieve program goals.
  • Standard 4. Global Context - Interior designers have a global view and consider social, cultural, economic, and ecological contexts in all aspects of their work.
  • Standard 5. Collaboration - Interior designers collaborate and also participate in interdisciplinary teams.
  • Standard 6. Business Practices and Professionalism - Interior designers understand the principles and processes that define the profession and the value of interior design to society.
  • Standard 7. Human-Centered Design - Interior designers apply knowledge of human experience and behavior to designing the built environment.
  • Standard 8. Design Process - Interior designers employ all aspects of the design process to creatively solve a design problem.
  • Standard 9. Communication - Interior designers are effective communicators.
  • Standard 10. History - Interior designers apply knowledge of history of interiors, architecture, decorative arts, art, and related theories when solving design problems.
  • Standard 11. Design Elements and Principles - Interior designers apply elements and principles of design.
  • Standard 12. Light and Color - Interior designers apply the principles and theories of light and color effectively in relation to environmental impact and human wellbeing.
  • Standard 13. Products and Materials - Interior designers complete design solutions that integrate furnishings, products, materials, and finishes.
  • Standard 14. Environmental Systems and Comfort - Interior designers use the principles of acoustics, thermal comfort, and indoor air quality in relation to environmental impact and human wellbeing.
  • Standard 15. Construction - Interior designers understand interior construction and its interrelationship with base building construction and systems.
  • Standard 16. Regulations and Guidelines - Interior designers apply laws, codes, standards, and guidelines that impact human experience of interior spaces.