Certified Kitchen Designer Career, Employment and Education Info

Research what it takes to become a certified kitchen designer. Learn about job duties, education requirements and professional certification, as well as the job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Interior Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Certified Kitchen Designer?

As a certified kitchen designer, you'll design and install residential kitchens. These specialized interior designers need to keep in mind both the functional and aesthetic features of kitchen appliances, storage, furniture and fixtures. To find jobs they often have to search for projects and place bids, competing against other designers. After getting a job, they assess the space they have to work with, then draw up plans to propose to their clients. Once a plan is accepted, they must acquire the materials and oversee the construction of the new kitchen. The following table provides some basic information for this career:

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Interior design, kitchen and bath design
Key Responsibilities Develop designs, utilize light & colors for interior accentuation, lead work teams
Certification Optional certifications offered by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA)
Job Growth (2014-24) 4%* (interior designers)
Median Salary (2015) $48,840* (interior designers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Certified Kitchen Designers

As a certified kitchen designer, you develop efficient, cost-effective designs and implement those designs to create brand new, aesthetically appealing and functional kitchens. You'll learn how to manipulate lighting, colors and shapes to accentuate key features and diminish eyesores. As a designer, you'll need to have good communication skills to lead multiple workers in the implementation of the plans you've created. You must also work with clients to discover their needs, wants and interests, all while remaining under budget.

Occupational Outlook

During an economic recession, homeowners attempt to sell their properties and seek remodeling professionals to make their homes more attractive to buyers. Other homeowners may seek lifestyle enhancements, like high-end appliances and counter-tops, particularly those homeowners interested in making their kitchen eco-friendly. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that these reasons may result in growth for interior designers of approximately 4% between 2014 and 2024.

Educational Requirements

You can pursue a college degree in a discipline such as interior design. To become certified, you need to choose a program that is accredited by the National Kitchen and Bath Association. Associate and bachelor degree programs in interior design prepare you to work in many rooms of the home, not just the kitchen. Some colleges offer a certificate program specializing in kitchen and bath design.

Professional Certifications

The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) offers three certifications for kitchen designers:

  • Associate Kitchen and Bath Designer (AKBD)
  • Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD)
  • Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer (CMKBD)

The National Council for Interior Design Qualifications provides another option for certification through its interior designer credential exam. This exam covers building codes and standards, design techniques and planning procedures. You also must complete a practicum to prove your skills in different areas of design.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Similar to how kitchen designers need to consider the aesthetic layout of a kitchen, art directors and graphic designers must consider the artistic layout of images and text on printed materials. Many times, art directors and graphic designers are responsible for the appearance of magazines, product packaging, advertisements and newspapers. Both of these jobs typically require at least a bachelor's degree, though art directors also tend to have extensive experience.

Aside from the aesthetic value of a kitchen, kitchen designers also have to understand the structural and spatial elements of a kitchen. This means they must know some of the same things as architects - a career that involves designing buildings and other structures. To work as an architect, you'll need a professional bachelor's degree as well as licensure.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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