Individuals interested in a kitchen and bath design career can earn a certificate in this area or enroll in an associate's degree program in interior design, which will include courses in kitchen and bath design. Neither program can be earned entirely online, due to the lab requirements, hands-on training and internships. However, a few courses may be offered online, allowing students to view lessons and download class materials as their schedules permit.
At both levels, students learn the fundamentals of kitchen and bath design, such as developing floor plans and using design software. Other courses examine building codes and regulations, including designing to meet the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). They also learn business skills, such as estimating costs and making bids on jobs. In an associate's degree program, students must complete general education courses including mathematics and social studies.
Students should look for a certificate program that is accredited by the NKBA. Graduates of both certificate and associate's degree programs may qualify to take professional credentialing exams from the NKBA.
An alternative option for students looking for a fully online design education is an online certificate in graphic design. These programs also provide training in the use of popular design software, and they cover artistic principles that may be applied when designing the layout of a kitchen or bathroom.
Certificate Programs in Kitchen and Bath Design
Certificate programs in kitchen and bath design prepare students for entry-level positions in the industry. Students explore foundational skills in visual communication and interior design. Hands-on training is received in space planning and drafting. An internship often is required to complete the certificate program.
Program Information and Requirements
Most certificate programs in kitchen and bath design range from 30-47 credits and are accredited by the NKBA. Classes may be held online; however, due to the hands-on nature of the work students are typically required to complete on campus labs and training. Online students typically access lectures and assignments through online learning platforms, such as Blackboard.
Accessing online learning systems requires students to have a computer and broadband Internet connection. Headsets with a microphone may be needed for real-time chatting and conferences.
Certificate candidates examine the principles of kitchen and bath designs, including equipment, space layout and building codes. Additional topics covered include computer-aided drafting, materials and businesses practices.
Codes and Universal Access
In this online course, students examine local, state and federal regulations. They investigate safety issues and barrier free access as per ADA design requirements. This course also delves into estimating and preparing specifications for kitchen and bath designs, as well as access guidelines.
Resources for Designers
A resources for designers course familiarizes students with the available industry and trade resources for interior space design. Lectures inform students on subjects such as flooring, lighting and fixtures.
An internship in kitchen and bath design provides students experience in the industry. Internships are designed with a minimum set of hours and must be approved by the institution. Completion of the internship qualifies students to receive their program certificate and qualify for further licensing.
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Associate's Degree in Kitchen and Bath Design
Students can increase their knowledge or acquire new skills in kitchen and bath design through an online associate's degree. Students delve into building systems and codes, architectural drafting and interior design. These programs also touch on marketing, promotion and public relations. Hands-on experience is gained through internships and a final portfolio project. These programs are intended to provide foundational skills for entry into design, installation and sales positions in kitchen and bath design, as well as the pursuit of further study in the discipline.
Program Information and Requirements
Online learners in kitchen and bath design can find programs that culminate in an associate degree or a certificate of completion. Online programs train students in drafting, space planning and interior design. Many programs prepare students for certification by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA).
Online programs require students to participate in discussion threads, retrieve their assignments and submit their homework through online course management systems. Interaction with teachers and classmates is conducted through communication tools, such as instant messenger and e-mail. Associate-level programs in kitchen and bath design are not offered fully online; they often include a combination of online and on-campus participation.
Many courses require design software programs, such as Pro100, DecoTech and AutoCAD. Online learners are required to have a computer capable of handling high-end computer illustration and design software.
Associate's Level Courses
Associate's degree candidates examine the basic principles of interior design including an introduction into computer-aided design (CAD) software. The curriculum covers both general education and design specific courses.
Drafting introduces students to basic drafting techniques including hand sketching and CAD. Students explore topics in drawing terminology, lettering and scaling. Proper use of drafting equipment is also included.
Introduction to CAD
This CAD course discusses the fundamentals tools and techniques used in CAD software. The courses places emphasis on understanding industry standards for designers as set by the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
Design Color and Fundamentals
The basic principles of color and color design are the core of this course. Students explore the relationship between design and color theory, as well as psychological aspects of color. They consider the aesthetic appeal of both traditional and contemporary color motifs.
Certificate-holders in kitchen and bath design are qualified for entry-level associate positions in kitchen and bath or interior design. They may also work as an independent contractor. In August 2008, a NKBA survey reported that independent kitchen and bath designer salaries range up to $118,000 annually (www.nkba.org).
Associate's degree graduates can pursue a number of entry-level career options in kitchen and bath design, such as interior design assistants or decorative product specialists. Opportunities can be found in design, architecture and home repair services. In October 2016, the median hourly rate for an entry-level interior design assistant was $15, and the median annual salary was $37,559, according to PayScale.com.
Continuing Education Information
Graduates of a certificate program are qualified to sit for the Associate Kitchen and Bath Designer (AKBD) certification exam offered through the NKBA. Certificate-holders must have a minimum of 30 hours of educational experience and one year of work experience to qualify for the AKBD exam. The certification exam covers design, project management, drafting and installation.
In addition to the AKBD, an associate degree and experience may also qualify students for the Certified Kitchen and Bath Installer or Certified Kitchen Designer exam offered through NKBA. The level of experience, including both educational and work, for each exam can vary from 5-7 years depending on the certificate.
Students looking to further their education in the area of kitchen and bath design can complete a bachelor's degree program in interior design. This program provides students with an in-depth understanding of interior design aesthetics, history and technology.
There are both certificate and associate's degree programs that cover the design concepts and software programs used to design kitchens and bathrooms, and some courses within these programs may be taken online. However, many programs also include on-campus training, so some students may prefer a fully online certificate in graphic design.