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Jul 17, 2023 By Jessica Jones
Meet Matt Barusch of CIDQ
NCIDQ’s Matt Barusch talks advocacy, regulation, and the future of design
By Jessica Jones Jul 17, 2023
Published in Advocacy

Interior design is a profession that encompasses all aspects of design from project planning to the actual design process, interior designers work to promote the health, safety, and welfare of occupants while enhancing the human experience. As part of the Consortium for Interior Design, IIDA is working with both ASID and CIDQ to advance the current state of interior design legislation and broaden the impact that certified interior designers have in protecting the well-being and safety of the communities we serve.

Being informed and predictive about the future of design is how organizations and designers can work together to build a better future. We chat with the Director of Government Affairs and Advocacy at CIDQ Matthew Barusch about how CIDQ is supporting recent changes in the industry.

Tell us about your background and your role at CIDQ?

I’ve always been interested in policy and advocacy. My interest in state government began with a staff position in the Arizona State Senate while pursuing my graduate degree in public administration. Since then, I’ve held positions at several nonprofit associations and government affairs firms, working in both federal and state government relations and advocacy. I enjoy advocating at the state level, especially in occupational regulation, and having a small role in helping to keep people safe in public spaces.

In my role at CIDQ, I work to support our member regulatory boards in addressing the legislative and regulatory challenges they face, providing the resources and information they need to effectively communicate to stakeholders the value of their work and of reasonable regulation in protecting the public. CIDQ partners with the other regulatory associations for the design professions on several initiatives meant to serve our member boards. We also work with allied organizations like IIDA and ASID to advocate for reasonable regulation of interior design. We do this work for the same reason we administer the NCIDQ exam: to protect the public health, safety, and welfare.

Why is it important for our organizations to work together as a united front?

Our organizations working together towards our shared goal of reasonable regulation of interior design is so important because occupational regulation of any kind, not just for interior design, is constantly under threat. The public wants their professionals to be qualified and competent. But misconceptions about the interior design profession and how NCIDQ certificate holders impact public safety, combined with misguided notions about what is in the public interest, are still prevalent among elected officials. The only way to counter this threat and avoid the repercussions of short-sighted action on public safety is to unify our voices and work together to educate stakeholders and the public about why reasonable regulation is necessary and smart.

What is CIDQ working on for 2023 that you’re excited about?

I’m really excited about our new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Scholarship opportunity. Our Board of Directors believes that the practice of interior design, a discipline that places people’s health, safety, and welfare at its very core, is elevated when a broad array of voices, perspectives, and sensibilities are fully represented. We’re also working with the other credentialing organizations for the design professions to provide more resources to regulatory boards in support of licensure, including the Practice Overlap Task Force, which is doing some groundbreaking and exciting work.

Tell us about the Practice Overlap Task Force. What is it? What does it accomplish?

No matter the name—incidental practice, overlapping practice, scope of practice—this concept has posed challenges for architect, engineer and surveyor, interior designer, and landscape architect licensing boards to regulate and practitioners to navigate. To protect the public, licensing boards are responsible for ensuring only competent individuals are practicing in each of these professions. Jurisdictions often look to their regulatory associations to offer uniform standards, definitions, and best practices to address such challenges. However, no such guidance currently exists for overlapping practice among the regulatory organizations. To help address this gap in knowledge, the Interorganizational Council on Regulation (ICOR) has agreed to work together to explore this long-standing issue more fully.

The Practice Overlap Task Force coordinated by ICOR will seek to develop uniform guidelines and definitions for competent overlap of practice that can be adopted as the recommended definitions in model law and guidance issued by the ICOR organizations. By conducting additional research and broadening this effort, ICOR plans for this cooperation to result in clear and shared definitions, guidelines, or best practices that professional licensing authorities can use to better regulate practice overlap.

In your own words, why is it important for interior designers to obtain registration in their states if it’s available?

Obtaining registration or licensure as an NCIDQ certificate holder is imperative because it strengthens public safety and shows clients and the public your qualifications and personal commitment to protecting them. Occupational regulation exists for one reason: to protect public health, safety, and welfare.

We administer the NCIDQ exam for the same reason: to help ensure the public is protected from incompetent practice. So, by registering your credential with a regulated jurisdiction, you are supporting public safety, the hard-fought legal recognition of the interior design profession, and your own professional advancement opportunities. Even those who may not use the title presently may use it in the future of their career. And simply put: qualified and competent professionals should be able to take responsibility and accountability for their own work.

Occupational regulation exists for one reason: to protect public health, safety, and welfare.
Matthew Baruch
Matthew Baruch

How can IIDA members support emerging professionals in becoming NCIDQ certified?

One of the best ways to support emerging professionals and encourage them to explore NCIDQ certification is to become an NCIDQ ambassador. An Ambassador for the NCIDQ Exam is a practitioner, educator, or advocate who is committed to promoting the value of the NCIDQ Exam and NCIDQ Certification. Ambassadors are charged with remaining up to date on the latest news on the NCIDQ Exam and are on the front line of the industry to educate, mentor, and engage various audiences on the importance of the NCIDQ Certification.

NCIDQ certificate holders can also act as a sponsor for exam candidates, helping to guide them through their experience and ensuring candidates have experience in necessary content areas before sitting for the exam. More information about Ambassadors and sponsorships can be found on our website.

Learn more about the IIDA NCIDQ Tuition Reimbursement Fund, and how you can be reimbursed for your testing fees here

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