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Kitchen and Bath Design Degree, Training and Certification Program Info

Individuals who wish to work in kitchen and bath design need training in the basics of interior design and detailed instruction in kitchen and bath planning. Certificates and associate degrees prepare students for work in this field.

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Essential Information

While kitchen and bath design coursework may be included in general interior design programs, there are also specialized kitchen and bath design certificates and associate's degree programs, some of which may offer courses online.

Once enrolled in a relevant certificate program, students might learn about fundamental design concepts and construction methods. Lighting and furnishings for the kitchen and bath could be explored. Practical experience might be gained in an internship.

Associate degree programs may impart technical knowledge and allow students to develop hands-on skills. In addition to lighting design, construction systems and drafting, programs might address project management practices. Completion of a professional portfolio and an internship could be required. Depending on the program, graduating students may be prepared to sit for a professional certification test.


Certificate Program in Kitchen and Bath Design

A certificate program in kitchen and bath design includes the study of design theme applications, computer-aided drafting, presentation standards and estimating procedures. An overview of standard business practices for the kitchen and bath design industry is also provided. Some programs may require an internship component. Students who complete a certificate program approved by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) are prepared to sit for the NKBA Associate Kitchen and Bath Designer certification exam.

A certificate program of this kind usually requires applicants to have a high school diploma or GED. Candidates are often asked to take assessment exams for placement in the subject areas of math and English. Students interested in the kitchen and bath design certificate program should be creative and have some art skills, such as drawing or sketching ability.

Program coursework provides the skills and knowledge that are needed to begin entry-level careers in this specialized design area. The following are examples of topics covered over the course of a kitchen and bath design program:

  • Construction methodology
  • Lighting and furnishings
  • Three-dimensional drawing and rendering
  • Materials
  • Spatial Design

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Associate Degree in Kitchen and Bath Design

An associate degree program such as an Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Kitchen and Bath Design provides students with the knowledge needed to develop and execute comprehensive designs from initial concept to completed installation. In addition to the required design coursework, students develop project management skills including project budgeting, scheduling and collaborating with other design specialists. An internship component is usually required. Through internship opportunities and studio courses, students are able to compile a professional portfolio of their best design work to help demonstrate their skills and begin a career with the kitchen and bath design industry.

Applicants are required to have a high school diploma or GED. Although there are no specific prerequisite courses, it is helpful for applicants to have an educational background in art, architectural drawing, mathematics, housing design and business.

Program coursework combines technical instruction with hands-on studio courses to provide a comprehensive education in the field. Basic principles and theories on the interior design industry are usually incorporated. Students become familiar with the latest technologies in design, including computer design and application software. Some general education courses are also required. Typical topics covered as part of the core curriculum of a kitchen and bath design program include:

  • Materials and cost
  • Design and color fundamentals
  • Visual presentation techniques
  • Kitchen and bath business practices
  • Construction systems
  • Basic drafting

Popular Career Options

Kitchen and bath design professionals are employed by design firms, showrooms and individual clients, or they may start their own firms. They may be display designers and representatives for kitchen and bath products. Other examples of job opportunities for those with a certificate in the field include:

  • Associate designer
  • Job estimator
  • Design technician

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Graduates with an associate degree in the kitchen and bath design are prepared for entry-level positions within this highly specialized field of the interior design industry. Job opportunities may include kitchen design and sales consultant, kitchen dealer, independent designers and display designers. Other opportunities may include kitchen planner, installation coordinator and manufacturer's representative.

In May 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that interior designers earned an annual mean wage of $55,510 (www.bls.gov). The BLS predicts 4% employment growth from 2014-2024 for interior designers.

Students who obtain a certificate or an associate degree in kitchen and bath design may find work as associate designers, design technicians or interior designers, among other options. Coursework typically teaches design concepts, construction methods and project management practices.

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