Continuing Education Requirements for Registered Architects and Certified Interior Designers

August 23, 2012

AIAby David Del Vecchio, AIA, Chair, AIA New Jersey Legislative and Government Affairs

The Continuing Education requirements to maintain licensure for Registered Architects runs concurrently with the biennial renewal cycle, but does allow some carry over (see below for details). The biennial renewal period ends July 31, 2013, but you may want to check you records to assure that you are accumulating the correct number of credits for both licensure and AIA membership.

Continuing Education requirements to maintain membership in AIA runs concurrently with the calendar, and you should know that there were changes to the self-reporting starting in January of 2012.

Additionally, if you are also a Certified Interior Designer, you should be aware that the renewal period for CIDs ends on September 30, 2012. Continuing Education requirements for certification as a Certified Interior Designer also runs concurrently with the biennial renewal cycle, but does not allow carry over (see below for details).

For those who are LEED accredited, your continuing education requirement depends on whether you are a LEEDap without a specialty (a retired category), a LEEDap with a specialty, or a LEED Green Associate.

Registered Architect Continuing Education Requirements

13:27-4 A.2 Continuing education hour requirements; carry-over of excess CE hours

(a)  … a license applying for renewal on or after August 1, 2001 shall complete, during the preceding biennial period, a minimum of 24 CE hours…. At least eight CE hours per year or 16 CE hours per biennial renewal period shall be obtained from courses or programs within the definition of health, safety, and welfare…. The remaining CE hours shall be in educational activities that are directly related to the practice of architecture.

(d)  An architect who exceeds CE requirements in a biennial renewal period may carry up to 12 CE hours, including eight CE hours of health, safety, and welfare programs or courses, into the next renewal period. Any CE hours to be carried over shall have been earned in the last six months of the biennial renewal period.

Certified Interior Designer Continuing Education Requirements 

The Interior Design Examination and Evaluation Committee of the New Jersey State Board of Architects is responsible determining the qualifications of interior designers seeking certification in this State, establishing standards for certification, and disciplining licensees who do not adhere to those requirements. Inquiries can be forwarded to Charles Kirk, PO Box 45001, Newark, 07101, (973) 504-6385 or via fax to (973) 504-6458.

Excerpts from the interior design regulations:

13:27-9.10 Continuing education credit requirements

(b) A certificate holder shall not be required to obtain continuing education credit hours during the first biennial renewal period in which the certificate holder first obtains certification. For each succeeding biennial renewal period, the certificate holder shall complete a minimum of 12 continuing education credit hours related to interior design services. Of the 12 continuing education credit hours, at least six must concern health, safety and welfare issues related to interior design.

13:27-9.11 Continuing education programs and courses

(a) The certificate holder may obtain continuing education credit as follows:

1. Seminars conferences courses and other programs offered for the purpose of keeping the certificate holder informed of advances and new developments in the profession and approved by the Interior Design Continuing Education Council (IDCEC): one hour for each hour of attendance;

2. Successful completion of interior design graduate course work from a program accredited by the CIDA or a substantially equivalent program as determined by the Committee in a manner consistent with N.J.A.C. 13:27- 9.4(e) taken beyond that required for professional certification :a maximum of five hours for each course; or

3. Courses, programs or seminars offered or approved by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs that are directly related to the practice of interior design: one hour for each hour of attendance; or,

4. A certificate holder may obtain approval for attendance at a seminar, conference or other program that meets the Committee’s continuing education requirements. For approval prior to attendance at a seminar, conference of other program, the certificate holder shall submit to the committee a descriptive outline of the program or a description as prepared by the sponsor, including dates and hours 60 days prior to enrollment. For approval subsequent to attending a seminar, conference or other program, the certificate holder shall submit to the Committee a description as prepared by the sponsor, including dates and hours together with written verification of attendance.

13:27-9.12 Certification of compliance with continuing education requirements

(a) A certificate holder applying for certificate renewal as set forth in N.J.A.C.13:27-9.5 shall confirm on the renewal application that he or she has completed the required continuing education during the preceding biennial period set forth in N.J.A.C.13:27-9.10.

(b) Each certificate holder shall be subject to audit by the Committee and shall submit documentation of completed continuing education courses and programs upon request.

Failure to provide requested documentation or falsification of any information submitted to the Committee may result in disciplinary action.

(c) Each certificate holder shall retain for a period of not less than five years continuing education documentation for each seminar, conference, course or other program including its title, a descriptive outline including the sponsor and names of presenters, and its description as prepared by the sponsor including dates and hours.

About IDCEC Approved Courses and the Interior Design Examination and Evaluation Committee

The Interior Design Continuing Education Committee (IDCEC) has as its members the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), and the Interior Designers of Canada (IDC). New Jersey Certified Interior Designers are not required to track their records with IDCEC, but if you are a member of one of their member organizations, they will track approved courses for free through a self-reporting system on their website. If you want IDCEC to track continuing education for you, and you are not a member of ASID, IIDA, or IDA, you must pay a fee to report each course, and another fee to obtain an official transcript.

A full list of IDCEC approved courses can be obtained at It is available in an Excel spreadsheet that will take 25 pages to print at 11” x 17”, but it could prove useful to you in locating vendors that provide IDCEC approved courses.

The interior design continuing education courses required for Certification do need to be either IDCEC approved, or approved by the Interior Design Examination and Evaluation Committee of the New Jersey State Board of Architects. There is no fee to submit your courses for approval by the Interior Design Examination and Evaluation Committee of the State Board of Architects, and there is no need to submit your records unless you are audited. It is unclear what would happen if they audit your record and they subsequently determine, for whatever their reasons may be, that the courses you took were not substantially equivalent to those provided by IDCEC. See the Interior Design Examination and Evaluation Committee website for specifics about how to have courses approved.

Free Vendor Provided IDCEC Credits Online

Some vendor websites offer free IDCEC approved online courses and other courses related to interior design that may be acceptable to the Interior Design Examination and Evaluation Committee. Some courses may also count for AIA credit and some may even count toward USGBC credit. You should check whether, and to whom, the CE provider is automatically reporting credits, or which you can self-report.

NOTE: If a course is both AIA HSW and IDCEC approved, it should show up on your AIA CES transcript, if you are an AIA member, since all AIA approved HSW courses are no longer self-reported and only available through approved providers. 

Please be careful as certificates of completion do not always include the IDECEC approval number even though the sponsoring website says it is an IDCEC approved course.

Here are some websites that offer interior design and architecture continuing education.

Continuing Education Required for AIA Membership

AIA Members must earn 18 Learning Units per calendar year, 12 of which must be HSW. Of the 12 LU’s that relate to concerns of health, safety and welfare (HSW), 4 must be in sustainable design (SD).

Note: In calendar year 2012, aligning closer with state licensing boards’ practice, AIA members will no longer be able to self-report HSW courses for credit. Members will need to complete HSW credits by taking qualifying courses from registered AIA CES Providers and Providers will need to report HSW courses for members to receive HSW credits. Members can continue to self-report non-HSW learning unit (LU) credit hours.


These may be the most complicated to figure out. You should refer to GBCIs website for their continuing education requirements. You should also be aware that AIA New Jersey provides LEED-specific courses at its annual East Coast Green Conference and other events throughout the year at a very reasonable cost.

– LEEDap without specialty requires no CE.

– LEEDap with specialty requires 30 CE (6 LEED-specific) biennial period ending 8/11/2013.

– LEED GA requires 15 CE (LEED-specific) biennial period ending 8/11/2013.

By | Posted in AIA-NJ News, Continuing Ed, Legislative & Government Affairs, NJ Architect Newsletter | Tagged: , | Comments (2)

2 responses to “Continuing Education Requirements for Registered Architects and Certified Interior Designers”

  1. stacey kliesch says:

    Thank you, Dave! Well done, as usual.

  2. ida says:

    We currently host a quarterly architect seminar series in our office and we were hoping to extend the opportunity to designers as well. We have had great success hosting these classes in our office and would like to know if you know of anyone who would be able to speak at one of our designer seminars. Please let me know



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