Georgia Registered Interior Designer

Georgia offers interior designers the opportunity to provide certain services independently by becoming a registered interior designer through the Secretary of State’s office. Georgia has a title act and the title is “Registered Interior Designer.” Adjoining states that require qualification by registration are Alabama, Florida, and Tennessee. Interior designers planning to practice in any state must make themselves aware of the requirements and limitations of practice for that state. Only registered interior designers registered in Georgia may call themselves a Registered Interior Designer within this state.

The benefits of registration in Georgia are the following:

  1. Independent registered interior designers are able to take responsibility for plans for interior non-load-bearing construction and may prepare or supervise the preparation of plan sets for permit. To do this they currently certify that the plans meet codes and local ordinances for business occupancies.
  2. For other occupancies requiring an architect’s seal, they may contract with an architect directly to review, direct and seal their drawings for permit.
  3. They may coordinate their interior design plans with those of engineers, where engineering services are provided to complete contract documents.

Of course, anyone including interior designers may work directly for an architect or another registered interior designer without being required to register because the registered design professional takes responsibility for the quality of his or her work. Likewise, anyone may provide interior decoration services and call themselves a decorator or interior designer for work on residential projects. Georgia law provides for those independent businesses that provide full interior design services without creating a requirement of registration for others who provide more limited services or who work for others.

Georgia registered interior designers should use this term on their business cards and in business literature. They qualify for Federal and State work that may require registered interior designers for work in states that have registration laws. Registered Interior designers establish a standard for qualifications in the profession and their performance and continuing education is monitored by the state.

Registration became effective in the state of Georgia, on July 1, 1992, allowing those individuals qualified by education, experience and examination to use the title of “Registered Interior Designer.” A grandfather clause was valid until July 1, 1996 for those in practice with ten or more years of experience on or before that date.

Applicants now must have a first professional degree (Bachelors or Masters degree) from a CIDA (formerly FIDER), NASAD, or NAAB accredited program or an education deemed by the board of architects and interior designers to be equal. Establishing an equal education requires detailed information regarding the courses taken and the college’s standing. In addition to the required degree, the applicant must have passed an examination promulgated by the NCIDQ (National Council of Interior Design Qualification) or pass the ARE offered through NCARB (the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards).

Registration is done on a biannual basis with an expiration date of March 31 on odd numbered years. Each applicant for renewal who has been registered in the State of Georgia must have completed twelve contact hours (1.2 CEUs) prior to each renewal date. Applications may be downloaded and renewals may be done online at http://sos.ga.gov/index.php/licensing/plb/2

The choice to become a “Registered Interior Designer” is completely voluntary. Nothing in the bill shall be construed as prohibiting or restricting the practice or activities of an interior decorator or any individual offering interior decorating services, including, but not limited to selections of surface materials, treatments, wall coverings, painting, floor covering, or lighting fixtures.

Currently the State of Georgia has issued approximately 406 “Registered Interior Designer” certificates. At each meeting the Georgia State Board of Architecture and Interior Designers review applications for registration. There are 2 registered interior designers on the board. They meet 6 times each year.

A wall certificate is now available from the Board for a purchase price of $50.00. The fee for obtaining or the renewal biennial fee is $90. See the secretary of state’s web site for current fee structure.

At various times, a number of legislative issues which may affect interior designers may be working their way through the state and local governments. GAIDP (Georgia Alliance of Interior Design Professionals) is the legislative voice for the interior designers in Georgia. Some of the Georgia state regulations concerning interior designers may be viewed at www.asid.org.

The state law may be viewed online at http://w3.lexis-nexis.com/hottopics/gacode. You will need to sign in, then search the Table of Contents for the laws governing architecture and interior design which start at 43-4-1 and go through 43-4-37. You may contact the ASID chapter office for more information on joining GAIDP (Georgia Alliance of Interior Design Professionals).

The Georgia State Board of Architects and Interior Designers
237 Coliseum Drive
Macon, GA 31217-3858
Voice: 478-207-1400
Fax: 478-207-1410
Web:  http://sos.ga.gov/index.php/licensing/plb/2