Those interested in a formal kitchen and bath design education can pursue an undergraduate degree in the field. 2-year associate's degrees are usually conferred as an Associate of Science or an Associate of Applied Science in Kitchen and Bath Design and are offered by a few schools, with some accredited by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA). An accredited school program gives the student a jumpstart towards earning an NKBA Career Path Certification. Bachelor's degrees are more likely to be in interior design, with kitchen and bath design as a part of the coursework. There are no accredited bachelor's programs in kitchen design. Central topics addressed in both programs include drafting, software programs in design, building codes, textiles and modeling. General education units involve English, math and social science. Some programs provide internship opportunities. A high school diploma or GED equivalent is required for program entrance, with a GPA of 1.5 or higher for an associate's degree.
Associate's Degrees in Kitchen and Bath Design
In addition to color theory, appliances, materials estimates and marketing, core subjects covered in an associate's program include:
- Computer-aided design
- Principles of interior design
- Kitchen and bath design
- Specifications and building codes
- Construction elements
Bachelor's Degree in Interior Design
Bachelor's students learn about an array of related aspects, like interior contracting, parametric modeling and professional practices. Other course topics discussed are:
- History of interiors
- Interior lighting
- Electrical and mechanical systems
- Materials and finishes
- Spatial structure and design
Popular Career Options
Earning the associate's degree allows one to begin a career in kitchen and bath design in entry-level positions. Graduates can work in sales and installation as well. Entry-level positions include:
- AutoCad drafter
- Design assistant
- Project manager assistant
- Retail sales
- Sample librarian
- Showroom assistant
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) expects the number of interior design jobs to increase by 4% from 2014-2024. The BLS also anticipates that interior designers who are expert in the areas of green design and ergonomics will be in increasing demand for many kinds of design projects. Nationwide, the mean annual salary for interior designers was $55,510 in May 2015.
Continuing Education Information
After one year of work experience, the holder of a bachelor's degree in interior design is qualified to test for the Associate Kitchen and Bath Designer (AKBD) certification exam, the first certification level from the NKBA. After one year's experience, they may take the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) first level certification exam, which enables them to promote themselves as experts in kitchen and bath design. This is the only certification level open to an associate level graduate. NKBA also has educational courses that can be taken in a classroom or online via Webinar. As they gain needed experience, these same graduates can pursue additional classwork in preparation for taking the test for Certified Kitchen Designer certification, followed by the Certified Bath Designer exam. A fourth, very prestigious certification, called the Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer certification, involves no testing, but does require the applicant to supply three samples of excellent design endorsed by a third party. Although much more rare, a master's and doctoral degree program allows students to focus in the design field.
Associate's degree programs are available which emphasize kitchen and bath design, while bachelor's degree programs focus on more general interior design. A bachelor's degree can pave the way to obtain advanced certifications and sometimes even master's degrees.