The Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) ensures a high level of quality in interior design education through three primary activities.

  • Set standards for postsecondary interior design education. Establishing and periodically updating standards for interior design education is one of CIDA’s core responsibilities. A broad constituency supports CIDA’s work to set standards for education and evaluate interior design programs. CIDA brings together representatives from professional organizations, testing, higher education, manufacturing, publishing and others with an interest in the profession’s growing body of knowledge.
    • CIDA exercises a well-established protocol in constructing educational standards. To assure the most relevant and up-to-date standards, data regarding not only current conditions, but also future trends affecting interior design practice, related industries, educational institutions, and accreditation practices is collected and analyzed. Thus, setting standards is a continuous cycle of monitoring, examining the important triggers for needed change, information gathering, validation, consensus building, adoption and, finally, implementation.
    • Major revisions are conducted on a five- to 10-year cycle and encompass all the standards for interior design education. Limited revisions (those focused on select criteria) take place on an ongoing and as-needed basis.
    • The Standards Committee, which functions as a part of the Council for Interior Design Accreditation, stewards the standard-setting process.
  • Evaluate and accredit college and university interior design programs. Using internationally recognized educational standards, CIDA employs a thorough three-step process to review and evaluate programs seeking accreditation.
    • Self Evaluations: Programs conduct a self-study evaluation and submit a report of results to CIDA.
    • Site Visits: These three-day visits, conducted by a team of trained CIDA site visitors, allow intense evaluation of the institution’s program to confirm a program’s level of compliance with accreditation standards. The visiting team then prepares a written report, with general comments and analysis, which is forwarded to CIDA’s Accreditation Commission.
    • Accreditation Decisions: The seven-member Accreditation Commission, comprised of experienced site visitors from a cross section of the profession, all with firsthand experience regarding the complexities of accreditation, reviews the written reports. The Commission then decides to grant or deny accreditation depending on the program’s level of compliance with standards.
  • Facilitate outreach and collaboration with all stakeholders in the interior design community. Consistent and continual communication with all relevant stakeholders in the interior design community guides CIDA’s outreach efforts and actions, which employ brainstorming, teamwork and consensus-building to address issues and concerns. Some of CIDA’s groundbreaking outreach efforts include:
    • Joint sponsorship with four other design associations of The Interior Design Profession’s Body of Knowledge, 2005 Update, a study established to define and document the abstract knowledge needed by practitioners to perform the profession’s work, and to initiate and sustain a dialogue among educators and interior designers about what might be needed to move the profession forward;
    • Future Vision. In 2006, CIDA hosted 15 visionary design leaders to describe priorities for future interior design education. The session was an important first step to writing new quality education standards for 2009 and beyond. Chosen for their well-informed, broad perspective, these thought leaders joined the CIDA Board of Directors to consider trends and sort out the greatest need for change to interior design education.
    • Regional design leader roundtables. The CIDA Board of Directors routinely hosts practitioner and educator roundtables throughout North America. These roundtables explore topics influencing design practice and education. Input from roundtables is used in CIDA’s standard setting process and to establish goals for the future.