What Is CIDA and Why Does It Matter to Interior Designers? 

BID

June 12, 2023

CIDA interior design

When it comes to pursuing a career in the booming Canadian interior design industry, acquiring the right education is crucial. The degree should not only focus on theoretical fundamentals of interior design but also equip students with the hands-on experience required to succeed.  

Finding the perfect program might feel daunting, but that’s where the Council of Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) steps in. Established as an independent, non-profit organization, CIDA plays a pivotal role in ensuring the quality, relevance, and rigor of interior design education programs across North America.  

Let’s learn more about the history, importance, and relevance of CIDA, and what makes it one of the most significant accreditations for interior designers in Canada. 

History of CIDA 

The Council of Interior Design Accreditation traces its roots back to 1970 when it was formed as the Foundation for Interior Design Education Research (FIDER). FIDER aimed to address the growing need for accreditation in the field of interior design.  

Over the years, FIDER evolved and in 2006, it transformed into CIDA. Today, the mission of CIDA is to advance the interior design profession by setting standards for accrediting interior design higher education programs.  

Why Should I Enroll in a CIDA-Accredited Program? 

At the heart of everything CIDA does is their goal of ensuring quality education for students that they meet the specified educational standards. Accredited programs undergo a rigorous review process, guaranteeing that students receive a comprehensive education that equips them with the knowledge, skills, and ethical understanding required to excel as interior designers.  

By making the quality of education paramount, CIDA ensures that future interior designers are graduating with entry-to-practice skills and are prepared to meet the demands of the industry. A list of CIDA-accredited programs is a great starting point when selecting an interior design program. While the list features many programs, only Yorkville University offers a Bachelor of Interior Design in Canada that can be completed online.  

Do I Need CIDA Accreditation to Become an Interior Designer? 

No, you don’t. But completing a CIDA-accredited interior design program ensures you become a well-rounded interior design professional.  

By accrediting interior design programs, CIDA plays a vital role in fostering professionalism among interior designers. CIDA accredited programs are expected to focus on a holistic approach to design education, combining design theory, technical expertise, creative thinking, and professional ethics.  

Graduates from such programs are adept at addressing the complex challenges of the industry, such as space planning, materials selection, building codes, and project management. This emphasis on professional competence ensures that CIDA-accredited designers are equipped to provide valuable services to clients. 

Is CIDA Industry Recognized? 

CIDA accreditation is widely recognized and respected by employers, interior design firms, and professional organizations. Graduating from a CIDA-accredited program not only positively impacts a student’s employability, but also increases their credibility and sets them up for long-term career growth.  

CIDA-accredited programs demonstrate a commitment to meeting industry standards, which resonates with employers seeking highly qualified professionals. This recognition provides graduates with a competitive edge in the job market, opening doors to exciting opportunities and collaborations within the design industry. 

Apart from CIDA, several other accreditations and recognitions are important for interior designers in Canada: 

National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ): The NCIDQ certification is highly regarded and establishes the professional standards and qualifications required to practice interior design. It assesses the competence of designers through a rigorous examination and is a prerequisite in many provinces to practice as an interior designer.  

Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario (ARIDO): ARIDO is the professional regulatory body for interior designers in Ontario. Registered members of ARIDO get the exclusive use of the title Interior Designer in Ontario. ARIDO membership also offers access to best practices resources, and networking and mentorship opportunities.  

Interior Designers of Canada (IDC): IDC is the national advocacy association for the interior design profession in Canada, representing over 5000 members. Membership with IDC provides networking opportunities, access to resources, and a platform for professional growth and development.  

IDC also advocates for the recognition and advancement of the interior design industry on a national level, promoting the value and importance of design in the built environment. 

LEED Accreditation: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) accreditation is significant for interior designers involved in sustainable design. LEED-certified professionals have a deep understanding of environmentally conscious design principles and possess the expertise to create sustainable, energy-efficient, and environmentally responsible interiors. LEED accreditation demonstrates a designer’s commitment to sustainable practices, aligning with the growing demand for green design solutions. 

CIDA-Accredited Online and In-Person Program by Yorkville University 

In the dynamic and ever-evolving field of interior design, having a reliable accreditation system is crucial to ensure the quality and competence of professionals. The Council of Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) plays a vital role in upholding the standards of interior design education in North America. Moreover, other accreditations and recognitions, such as NCIDQ, ARIDO, IDC, and LEED, provide additional avenues for professional growth, industry recognition, and specialization. Together, these accreditation systems contribute to the advancement and success of interior designers in Canada, creating a strong foundation for the future of the profession.  

If you are looking for an interior design program that is accredited by CIDA and recognized by NCIDQ, ARIDO, and IDC, check out the Bachelor of Interior Design offered at Yorkville University. 

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