• Phyllis Harbinger

It’s never too late to take the NCIDQ!



I recently came across a wonderful designer profile in my ASID magazine I+D, which showcased the work and accomplishments of Gensler design director and principal, Mariela Buendia-Corrochano. Maria sets an excellent example of the importance of earning the NCIDQ Certificate.


Whether you are just finishing your degree, you are a mid-careerist or a busy high level professional, the NCIDQ certificate will most definitely provide leverage at every stage in your design journey.


I recall the day I put the NCIDQ on my radar. I was in a summer Professional Practice class and my professor, Ellen Fisher, FASID, wrote her name and appellation, and “NCIDQ” on the board. At the time it was “,ASID” (she was awarded the honor of Fellowship in July 2018!). I had no idea what ASID stood for much less NCIDQ so I raised my hand. I furiously took notes and joined ASID as a student member and then wrote a “note to self” to research the NCIDQ.


When I began teaching at FIT, six years after I graduated, I started a prep course called STEP, with my beloved professor, Harvey Rosenberg, at FIT. We met for a few weekends and had homework assignments and meetings with our peers between sessions. We also made flash cards and we read the Ballast Manual backwards and forwards, again and again. We also had practice drafting exercises critiqued by Rosenberg. It was the most wonderful and beneficial experience and I truly credit this experience with my passing the exam. During the STEP class, I became friends with one of my very dear colleagues to this day, Benjamin Huntington. He too passed the exam we sat for the week in October 2001. It was a momentous occasion and my husband surprised me with vanity license plates that read ASID!


Being able to use the appellation was such a huge accomplishment for me in my professional life. I had attained one of the most important goals that I had set for myself early on. It has continued to open many doors for me over the years. I know that it was an important factor in landing many of our large- scale projects and has provided me with a credential that gives me leverage when applying for speaking opportunities, board positions and so much more.


Now that you can begin to take parts of the exam right after graduation, do it! Do not wait. Strike while the information is fresh in your brain! That is my best piece of advice whether you are a young graduate or a second or third careerist!


I would also recommend that you set up a schedule so that you can be reminded of milestones when you have completed the number of hours of practice. Another note, and a very important one, the requirements continue to shift and become more challenging. I recommend that you do your practice work/hours under an NCIDQ certified designer or a registered architect.


You can also visit the CIDQ site for information on qualification standards and there is a great deal of content regarding the exam itself as well.


And, if you want to read more about Maria’s story which I mentioned above, click here to view the article.

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