Architecture Licensing Compliance Guide
An overview look of an architectures blueprints

Interior Design Firm Licensing

Licensing Layout: The map below illustrates nationwide licensing requirements for interior design firms.

Click on a state to read about detailed license requirements in that state.
43 States (and D.C.) Do Not Require Firm Licensure
6 States Require Firm Licensure
1 States Require Firm Registration or Other Prerequisites

Overview of Interior Design Firm Licensing Requirements

In addition to certifications and licenses issued to interior designers, some states also require interior design businesses to register or obtain a license. While only a few states currently require firm registration, interior design firms operating in other states may be required to meet ownership and individual licensing requirements.

When applying for a license, interior design firms in Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, and Virginia must appoint an individual as the designer in responsible charge. The designer in charge is typically an employee of the firm who is individually certified as an interior designer, although Florida allows this individual to instead be a licensed architect. In Oklahoma, the designer of record cannot simply be an employee but must hold a legal position within the business entity.

License application requirements vary by state, but many applications ask for:

  • Business entity information
  • A list of officers or owners of the firm
  • Designer-in-charge information
  • A certificate of authority (for out-of-state entities)
  • A certificate of good standing from the secretary of state
  • Application fees

Firms operating in more than one location within the same state will likely also need to provide designer-in-charge and contact information for each of their branch office locations. In some states, each branch office must obtain its own firm registration or license.

Interior design firms that offer architecture or landscape architecture services in addition to design services will typically need a separate license for each professional service they provide. A few states do, however, issue design firm licenses that cover a multitude of architectural disciplines, as well as engineering and land surveying, under a single license.

Multi-State Licensure

Interior design firms that obtain contracts outside of their home state should expect to have to register with the board of interior designers, secretary of state, and sometimes the department of revenue before providing services in a new state. In states with no licensing requirement for businesses, firms should still make sure that their entity type is permitted by the state, that their business name meets state requirements, and that there is a certified interior designer appointed in charge of all design-related services for the firm if required.

For states with a licensing requirement for firms, the order of the licensing process varies. Some states require firms to foreign qualify their business entity with the secretary of state before applying for a license, while others give firms the flexibility to complete these registrations in the order they choose.

Firms should also apply for any necessary tax-related registrations before providing design services in a state. Corporate income tax, withholding tax, and unemployment insurance tax registrations are commonly required when doing business in a new state.

Maintaining Compliance

After licenses and registrations are obtained, firms must file renewals to remain in good standing. Interior design firm licenses renew on an annual or biennial basis depending on the state: Florida, Oklahoma, and Virginia require biennial renewal while Louisiana, Minnesota, and Texas require annual renewal. Along with license renewal, firms may also need to submit annual reports to maintain their entity registration with the secretary of state.

In addition to these structured renewal events, firms must often report address, contact information, qualifying individual, and ownership changes as they occur. States typically require these types of changes to be reported within 10 or 20 days of their occurrence.

Firms should also track continuing education requirements to ensure that their qualifying individuals meet their individual license renewal requirements. Designers in charge who fail to meet renewal requirements will jeopardize the good standing of the firm license.

Keeping up with each state’s requirements, tracking renewals, and submitting the applications on time are critical to avoiding penalties. Our compliance software and services can help you keep track of varying jurisdiction requirements and relevant updates to state laws.

Firm License Requirements by State

Looking for interior design firm requirements in a particular jurisdiction? The following table summarizes architecture firm licensing requirements across the United States. Click on any state for additional licensing information specific to that state.

Alabama

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Alabama

Alabama does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

Alaska

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Alaska

Alaska does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

Arizona

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Arizona

Arizona does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

Arkansas

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Arkansas

Arkansas does not license or register interior design businesses, but registered designers list their business affiliation on their individual registration.

California

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in California

California does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

Colorado

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Colorado

Colorado does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

Connecticut

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Connecticut

Connecticut does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

Delaware

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Delaware

Delaware does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

District of Columbia

Our Resources:

More Info

Florida

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

Florida Board of Architecture and Interior Design

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$125

Filing Method:

File online

Due:

By February 28 of odd-numbered years.

Georgia

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Georgia

Georgia does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

Hawaii

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Hawaii

Hawaii does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

Idaho

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Idaho

Idaho does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

Illinois

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Illinois

Illinois does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

Indiana

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Indiana

Indiana does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

Iowa

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Iowa

Iowa does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

Kansas

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Kansas

Kansas does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

Kentucky

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Kentucky

Kentucky does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

Louisiana

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

Louisiana State Board of Interior Designers

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$0

Form:Renewal FormDue:

Annually by December 31.

Maine

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Maine

Maine does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

Maryland

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Maryland

Maryland does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

Massachusetts

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Massachusetts

Massachusetts does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

Michigan

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Michigan

Michigan does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

Minnesota

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

Minnesota Board of Architecture, Engineering, Land Surveying Landscape Architecture, Geoscience and Interior Design

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$25

Form:

Professional Firm Registration Renewal

Due:

Annually by December 31.

Mississippi

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Mississippi

Mississippi does not license or register interior design businesses, but registered designers list their business affiliation on their individual registration.

Missouri

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Missouri

Missouri does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

Montana

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Montana

Montana does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

Nebraska

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Nebraska

Nebraska does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

Nevada

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

Nevada State Board of Architecture, Interior Design and Residential Design

Initial Application

Fee:

$425. The fee is reduced to $300 if the firm is made up of only Nevada registrants.

Form:

Firm Registration Application

License Renewal

New Hampshire

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in New Hampshire

New Hampshire does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

New Jersey

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in New Jersey

New Jersey does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

New Mexico

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in New Mexico

New Mexico does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

New York

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in New York

New York does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

North Carolina

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in North Carolina

North Carolina does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

North Dakota

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in North Dakota

North Dakota does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

Ohio

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Ohio

Ohio does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

Oklahoma

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

Oklahoma Board of Architects, Landscape Architects, and Registered Interior Designers

License Renewal

Fee:

$325

Form:

Certificate of Title Renewal Application

Due:

By June 30 of odd-numbered years.

Oregon

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Oregon

Oregon does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

Pennsylvania

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

Rhode Island

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Rhode Island

Rhode Island does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

South Carolina

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in South Carolina

South Carolina does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

South Dakota

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in South Dakota

South Dakota does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

Tennessee

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Tennessee

Tennessee does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

Texas

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

Texas Board of Architectural Examiners: Architects, Interior Designers, Landscape Architects

Initial Application

Fee:

$45

Filing Method:

Online

License Renewal

Fee:

$45

Filing Method:

Online

Due:

Annually by date of initial issuance.

Utah

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Utah

Utah does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

Vermont

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Vermont

Vermont does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

Virginia

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

Virginia Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers and Landscape Architects

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$50

Due:

By February 28 of even-numbered years.


Agency

Virginia Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers and Landscape Architects

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$50

Due:

By December 31 of odd-numbered years.


Agency

Virginia Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers and Landscape Architects

License Renewal

Fee:

$25

Due:

By February 28 of even-numbered years.


Agency

Virginia Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers and Landscape Architects

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$25

Due:

By December 31 of odd-numbered years.


Agency

Virginia Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers and Landscape Architects

License Renewal

Fee:

$50

Due:

By February 28 of even-numbered years.


Agency

Virginia Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers and Landscape Architects

License Renewal

Fee:

$50

Due:

By December 31 of odd-numbered years.

Washington

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Washington

Washington does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

West Virginia

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in West Virginia

West Virginia does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

Wisconsin

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Wisconsin

Wisconsin does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

Wyoming

Our Resources:

More Info

Not Required

Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Wyoming

Wyoming does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

ARE (Architect Registration Examination) - Assesses candidates for their knowledge, skills, and ability to provide the various services required to be a practicing architect.

AXP (Architectural Experience Program) - NCARB program for architectural internship, a requirement for licensure that occurs after filling the educational requirements.

BEFA (Broadly Experienced Foreign Architect) - An alternative NCARB certification that allows foreign architects to independently practice architecture.

COA (Certificate of Authorization) - The most common name of the registration required for firms to practice architecture in a given state.

Design Firm - Architectural firm registration is sometimes grouped with engineering and land surveying on a single “design firm” application form.

NCARB Certification - Licensed architects have the option to become Certificate holders to signify that they have met national standards established by U.S. licensing boards for protecting public health, safety, and welfare. Certification also facilitates reciprocal registration in all 54 jurisdictions, 11 Canadian jurisdictions, and can be used to support an application for licensure in other countries.

Reciprocity - This is when a licensed architect in one state can provide documentation (often a NCARB certificate) to more easily apply for licensure in another jurisdiction.

State Board - Often referred to as the State Architects Licensure Board or Board of Architects, an individual state’s board serves as the regulatory authority for architects. The board qualifies and licenses individuals seeking architectural licensure. The board is responsible for preserving the public health, safety, and welfare of individuals who occupy built environments.

National Architecture Accrediting Board
NAAB establishes criteria for and accredits professional architecture degree programs in the United States.

The American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS)
AIAS is an independent, student-run group that promotes excellence in architecture education, training, and practice.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA)
AIA is a voluntary professional organization for architects providing advocacy, information, and community.

The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA)
ACSA represents architectural education programs across the globe.

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB)
NCARB is the national organization representing the state registration boards.

© 2012 - 2020 Harbor Compliance. All rights reserved. Harbor Compliance does not provide tax, financial, or legal advice. Use of our services does not create an attorney-client relationship. Harbor Compliance is not acting as your attorney and does not review information you provide to us for legal accuracy or sufficiency. Access to our website is subject to our Terms of Use and Service Agreement.