Kitchen and Bath Designer: Career Profile

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a kitchen and bath designer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties, licensure and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

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As interior designers, kitchen and bath designers need to make sure that their work is not only asethetically appealing but posseses functionality as well.

Essential Information

Kitchen and bath designers are interior designers who specialize in planning and decorating kitchens and bathrooms. Aspiring kitchen and bath designers usually complete a bachelor's degree in interior design, though associate's-level programs are also available. Programs specifically in kitchen and bath design are offered at some schools. Following their degree, candidates often obtain apprenticeship experience. Licensure is required in some states, and voluntary certification from the National Kitchen and Bath Association is available to designers.

Required Education Bachelor's degree is typical; associate's degrees are available
Other Training Apprenticeships are common
Licensure and Certification Interior design licensure is required in some states; voluntary certification is available
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 4% for all interior designers
Average Salary (2015)* $55,510 for all interior designers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Profile for a Kitchen and Bath Designer

Kitchen and bath designers bring together knowledge of textures, colors, space and lighting to plan and decorate kitchens and bathrooms in restaurants, homes, schools, hospitals and other spaces. They also need to understand the electric and plumbing systems used in kitchens and bathrooms.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that overall employment of interior designers would grow by 4% between 2014 and 2024. In May 2015, the average annual salary for interior designers in general was $55,510, and those working for specialized design services brought home $56,610.

Job Description for Kitchen and Bath Designers

Kitchen and bath designers typically begin projects by touring kitchens or bathrooms that require remodeling or decorating and meeting with clients to understand their design needs. Once they understand the scope of a project, they conceptualize a design, often using computer-aided design (CAD) software.

Once a client approves a design, designers estimate the budget, hire contractors, order materials and create a timeline for completion. Similar to all interior designers, most focus on decorating, but a rising number of designers are becoming involved in the architectural design process.

Requirements for a Kitchen and Bath Designer

According to the BLS, an undergraduate degree typically is required for entry-level interior design jobs. Associate's and bachelor's degree programs in the field are offered through colleges, universities and design schools. Master's programs in interior design also are available.

After college, many aspiring designers apprentice with experienced designers for up to three years. Some states mandate licensure of interior designers, which can require as much as six years of education and experience, in addition to passing a licensing exam.

Certification Information for Kitchen and Bath Designers

The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) accredits degree programs at educational institutions that offer kitchen and bath design specializations. Students who graduate from accredited schools can take an examination to receive Associate Kitchen & Bath Designer (AKBD) certification. Designers who didn't attend an NKBA-accredited program must obtain two years of professional experience and complete 30 hours of approved coursework to take the exam and become certified.

Designers with at least seven years of experience who have completed 60 hours of approved coursework are qualified to take exams to become NKBA-certified kitchen or bath designers. NKBA-certified designers with at least 17 years of experience who have completed 100 hours of approved coursework can apply to become Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designers.

Kitchen and bath designers must work closely with clients to meet their needs and expectations. They need to ensure that their designs allow first for functionality and that the results are visually and astethetically pleasing to the client.

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