How Can I Become a Certified Kitchen Designer?

Research what it takes to become a certified kitchen designer. Learn about education requirements, job duties, average wages and 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?

A kitchen designer is an interior designer who specializes in the design of kitchens. They work with clients to design unique kitchens that meet their functional needs and aesthetic requirements. For instance, they may discuss the amount of cabinet space they need for storage, the number of stove burners they expect to use for cooking and how much counter space they desire. In addition, because kitchens contain a wide array of appliances that involve water and energy, kitchen designers must have a solid understanding of water, electrical and natural gas systems. Although certification is not required for kitchen designers, it is possible to earn a professional certification from an industry organization.

Read the following chart to learn more about a kitchen designer's skills and how much you could earn.

Degree Required Associate's or bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Interior design
Key Skills Creativity, CAD software knowledge, excellent communication
Certification Options NKBA Associate Kitchen and Bath Designer
NKBA Certified Kitchen Designer
Job Growth (2014-2024) 4% (for all interior designers)*
Median Salary (2017) $41,607**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

What Does a Certified Kitchen Designer Do?

As a kitchen designer, you will work with clients to design a kitchen that meets their needs and then implement this design with a team of workers. As you design the kitchen space, you'll be considering both the ease in use and the client's aesthetic choices. When the design is finished and approved, you'll make the necessary arrangements for the actual implementation of the design, from hiring contractors to ordering appliances. You could work for a design firm, in which you'll be assigned certain projects, or you could start your own company, which requires finding your own clients.

What Education Do I Need?

Kitchen design involves technical knowledge and a creative mind, so an associate or bachelor's degree in an interior design subject is often needed for this career. Programs usually offer technical and creative courses. You may take classes in computer-aided design (CAD) and classes in art or drawing.

How Do I Become Certified?

The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) offers multiple certification options for kitchen designers, including the Associate Kitchen and Bath Designer (AKBD) and the Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD) designations. The AKBD designation is awarded if you have at least two years of interior design experience with one year spent working in the kitchen and bath industry and complete 30 hours of NKBA coursework or NKBA-approved classes in a college program. The candidate must also submit two professional affidavits before taking the AKBD examination. The CKD designation is awarded after seven years of experience, 60 education hours, two client references, two professional affidavits and a passing score on the CKD exam (www.nkba.org).

What Salary Can I Expect to Earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), interior designers, a group that includes kitchen designers, made an average annual wage of $55,110 as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported the 10th-90th percentile range earned a salary of $26,130-$91,360.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Instead of getting a job as a kitchen designer, you could become an interior designer with a specialization in a different housing area or building space. For instance, as a corporate designer, you would specialize in designing workplaces, such as offices. Another option is a job as a healthcare designer, where you would design rooms and spaces within medical facilities like hospitals, doctor's offices and nursing homes. If you are interested in environmental efficiency, you could become a sustainable designer, where your career would focus on renovating buildings so that they use less water and energy. For any of these interior design jobs, you usually need to have a bachelor's degree.

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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