Report Affirms Importance of Interior Design Certification

The Virginia report, which examines a range of professional regulation recommendations, enforces the importance of state certification for interior designers. 

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The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and the ASID Virginia Chapter have succeeded in supporting the interior design profession in Virginia as the Commonwealth’s Board for Professional and Occupational Regulation (BPOR) releases its “Final Report to the General Assembly: Evaluation of the Need for Continued Regulation of Certain Professions and Occupations as Recommended by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission.” The report, which examines a range of professional regulation recommendations, enforces the importance of state certification for interior designers. This decision proves the value of the interior design profession as it applies to all types of environments and bolsters designers’ opportunities for practice and growth.

Bryan J. Soukup, Esq., ASID Vice President, Government & Public Affairs, states, “The report fairly, honestly and succinctly analyzes why elimination of the Virginia interior design certification program would be harmful to the public and Virginia practitioners. We are grateful to BPOR for listening to the concerns and evidence presented by the public, practitioners, and ASID throughout this process.”

The report’s findings are a result of dedicated work and advocacy from the ASID Government and Public Affairs department and ASID Virginia, along with the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Virginia/West Virginia and the Council for Interior Design Qualification. Interior designers and staff from these groups worked with public officials to demonstrate the tangible impact of design on public safety. By collaborating with policy makers, interior designers were able to make a clear and convincing case as to why the Board should recommend against elimination of the certification, highlighting the critical role of the profession.

Key report findings include:

  • State certification of interior designers appears justified as the least-restrictive degree of regulation necessary to protect the public.
  • National certification is not an equivalent substitute for state regulation and may not offer the same public protection.
  • Deregulation may result in significant economic disruption for current certificate holders by jeopardizing their practice rights and entrepreneurship opportunities.

The report also references other recent state regulation victories for the interior design profession, including the creation of a voluntary state registration in Florida in July 2020.

Certification of interior designers affirms the importance of education and standards for professionals. The report notes, “The unregulated practice of interior design presents at least a moderate risk of public harm. The involvement of other regulated design professionals or building codes and inspections may not be sufficient to mitigate potential hazards to public health, safety, and welfare. Although interior designers can perform residential work, many focus on public spaces such as hospitals, schools, nursing homes, government facilities, and office buildings.” Overall, the skills, training and scope of practice required for certified interior designers established the importance of continued regulation and certification on the Virginia state level.

Adds ASID CEO, Gary Wheeler, FASID, “We are proud to have supported the entire interior design industry through our advocacy efforts in Virginia. While this is a victory on the state level, it makes a national statement -- professional certification helps ensure public safety and humancentric design for all. We are thrilled to see policy makers honor and respect the hard work that professional designers have put into their careers to make the world a better place through design.”

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