Kitchen designers work with clients in designing new kitchens or remodeling existing structures, including creating a layout design and choosing appliances. Most undergraduate degree program options for aspiring kitchen designers are interior design programs. However, certificate programs and individual courses can be found that focus specifically on kitchen design.
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The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) offers three certifications for kitchen designers, as well as certification options for bathroom designers, design educators and non-design kitchen-industry professionals. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.
|Required Experience||2 years|
|Other Requirements||Additional licensing may be required|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||4% for all interior designers*|
|Median Salary (2015)||$48,840 for all interior designers*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The lowest level of certification is the Associate Kitchen and Bath Designer (AKBD) credential, which requires two years of experience and 30 hours of related education. The Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD) designation requires seven years of experience and 60 hours of approved education. Although the Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer (CMKBD) does not require an exam, it does require holding the CKD and Certified Bath Designer (CBD) designations, and each requires passing an exam. Other credentials include Certified Kitchen Educator, Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Educator, and Certified Kitchen and Bath Professional, which is for non-design professionals.
Student can take courses from NKBA directly or earn a certificate or degree from an NKBA-approved college or university program. The NKBA recognizes many certificate and 2-year degree programs in kitchen and bath design, which are mainly offered by community and technical colleges, as well as undergraduate degree programs in interior design. Kitchen design courses might cover building codes, drafting, kitchen products, lighting design, kitchen systems and plumbing systems.
Licensure for Designers
If a CKD or CKBD works as an interior designer as defined by a state's law, that designer may need to be licensed. Licensure typically requires a combination of education and experience and passing the National Council for Interior Design Qualification exam. Certified designers must engage in continuing education to keep their credentials.
Certified kitchen designers use software and other drawing tools to design a plan for the elements of a residential or commercial kitchen. Designers work with clients and contractors to select appliances, flooring, cabinetry and other products for form and function. Designs may be for new construction or for a remodel. Knowledge of sales, project management and budgeting are typically required.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that interior designers, including kitchen designers, would see 4% growth in employment during the 2014-2024 decade. In 2015, the BLS reported an annual average income of $55,510 for interior designers.
Aspiring kitchen designers can enroll in courses offered by the NKBA or earn a certificate or two-year degree from a college program approved by the NKBA. The NKBA offers several levels of certification, all requiring training, experience and passing an exam. Once a kitchen designer is certified, they may also need to be licensed as an interior designer, depending on the state they are practicing in.