INTD Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Interior Design?  
“Interior design is a multi-faceted profession in which creative and technical solutions are applied within a structure to achieve a built interior environment. These solutions are functional, enhance the quality of life and culture of the occupants and are aesthetically attractive.
Designs are created in response to and coordinated with the building shell and acknowledge the physical location and social context of the project. Designs must adhere to code and regulatory requirements, and encourage the principles of environmental sustainability.
The interior design process follows a systematic and coordinated methodology, including research, analysis and integration of knowledge into the creative process, whereby the needs and resources of the client are satisfied to produce an interior space that fulfills the project goals.”

Is Interior Design right for me?  
The ideal student for Interior Design is someone who is passionate, enjoys creativity, art, organization, business and problem solving. Interior Design is the perfect blend of art, science, and business. Designers are imaginative, creative, possess technical skills and are highly knowledgeable. Interior Designers create environments for people to feel good in and function at the best possible level. Human interaction and impact is at the core of what Interior Designers do.
“Interior designers need to be creative, imaginative and artistic. They also need to be disciplined, organized and skilled business people. Combining aesthetic vision with practical skills and knowledge, interior designers work with clients to develop design solutions that are “aesthetically appealing, technically sophisticated and pragmatically satisfying.”

What is the differences between Interior Design & Interior Decorating?
Many people use the terms “interior design” and “interior decorating” interchangeably, but these professions differ in critical ways.  Interior design is the art and science of understanding people’s behavior to create functional spaces within a building. Decoration is the furnishing or adorning of a space with fashionable or beautiful things. In short, interior designers may decorate, but decorators do not design.
Interior designers apply creative and technical solutions within a structure that are functional, attractive and beneficial to the occupants’ quality of life and culture. Designs respond to and coordinate with the building shell and acknowledge the physical location and social context of the project. Designs must adhere to code and regulatory requirements and encourage the principles of environmental sustainability.
U.S. states and Canadian provinces have passed laws requiring interior designers to be licensed or registered and to document their formal education and training and pass the NCIDQ Exam. By contrast, interior decorators require no formal training or licensure.

What kinds of Jobs are available?
This degree program prepares students to apply their technical training and study of design fundamentals and concepts for positions in both residential and commercial specialties. Job applicants are evaluated on education, experience, and portfolio. Career opportunities include:

  • residential & commercial interior design firms
  • architectural firms
  • corporate & facility planning departments
  • the materials, textiles, furniture & furnishing industries
  • to-the-trade and retail sales & services
  • interior design product design and manufacturing
  • merchandising & display
  • the applied interior design & arts related industries

 Associates vs. Certificate?
CCBC offers two degree options in Interior Design: Associates of Applied Science Degree (A.A.S.) in Interior Design & the Interior Design Certificate. Students are encouraged to pursue the Associates degree, as the A.A.S. degree is valued higher in the profession and can be later built upon with further education, if desired. CCBC interior design students come with a variety of backgrounds and educational pursuits. To determine the best degree & path to follow, see detailed path descriptions at:

Can I transfer?
Yes, A.A.S. students can transfer CCBC INTD & Gen. Ed. courses to an institution with a bachelor or first-professional* master’s degree in interior design or related program. Students following this path should inquire with the program coordinator for course compatibility and transfer patterns.   *students with a prior bachelor degree not in interior design

Do I need further education?
CCBC’s Interior Design program is a career oriented program. While further education and specialty development may offer advanced career opportunities, it is not required for many jobs in the market place. Students are encouraged to pursue the Associates degree over the Certificate, as the degree can be built upon with further education if desired.

What is the NCIDQ exam?
The Council for Interior Design Qualification, or CIDQ, is an independent, nonprofit organization, which establishes standards of competence for interior design/interior architecture professionals, through examination. Interior designers who meet the eligibility requirements for education and experience and pass the rigorous NCIDQ Exam are assigned a unique NCIDQ Certification number that attests to their qualifications for employers, state regulators and the general public.

When do I take the NCIDQ exam?
NCIDQ exam eligibility requires both education & experience. There is a 60 credit minimum of interior design coursework culminating in a degree or certificate. CCBC Interior Design degree accounts for 42 of the 60 credits, students who planning to take the exam are encouraged to take additional INTD, CADD, and CONT credits to both enhance their interior design education and fulfill the additional 18 credits of educational requirements to qualify for the NCIDQ examination. The required hours of work experience varies with the student’s degree and type of work experience, this can range between 1.5 & 3 years working full-time.

Do I have to pass the NCIDQ exam to practice?

The state of Maryland does not require an Interior Designer to be an NCIDQ certificate holder to practice interior design.  Interior Designers who are licensed by the state as a Certified Interior Designer (CID) are NCIDQ certificate holders and are able to sign off on additional construction documents.  Many Commercial Design firms prefer or require employees to have an NCIDQ certificate, be in the examination process or be educationally eligible to take the exam.

What will I study?  (Course topics & Skills)

  • Drawing & Sketching
  • Composition
  • Manual Drafting
  • Computer Aided Design
  • Space Planning
  • Residential & Commercial Design
  • Kitchen & Bath Design
  • Building Code
  • Accessibility
  • Health, Safety & Welfare
  • Environmental Considerations
  • Sustainability
  • Human Behavior
  • Rendering
  • Presentation Techniques
  • Portfolio Development
  • Marketing for Interior Design
  • Color Theory & Application
  • Interior Materials & Finishes
  • Interior Textiles
  • Window Treatments
  • Furniture & Furnishings
  • Historic Interiors
  • Interior Design Profession
  • Interior Design Business Practices
  • Internship & Applied Learning