NKBA Introduces Changes to Certification Programs

Earlier in the year, the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) announced that major changes had been introduced to its design certification programs. The changes were made to simplify the once-complex certification process and to raise the bar on professionalism within the kitchen & bath industries.

Certified Kitchen and Bath Designers

The changes to the NKBA certification program came about as a response to several member surveys and independent member requests for increased accessibility for candidates. The association quickly moved to research the possibilities by establishing the Certification Task Force, which was chaired by Denise Dick, owner of Signature Kitchens by Design and member of the NKBA national board of directors.

The changes to the certification process were finalized in January of this year and went into effect on July 1. One of the biggest changes is an entirely new certification than encompasses both the kitchen and bath industries: Certified Kitchen and Bath Designer (CKBD). The CKBD is earned by the successful completion of a single, consolidated exam.

The separate Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD) and Certified Bath Designer (CBD) exams have been discontinued as of April 13, 2016. However, individuals who already hold CKD and CBD credentials will only have to take the portion of the exam dedicated to the certification not currently held. For instance, CKDs will only have to take the bath portion of the CKBD exam while CBDs will only have to take the kitchen portion.

Candidates may apply for CKBD certification throughout the year at more than 300 authorized testing centers in the U.S. and Canada. In addition, the drafting portion of the exam can be taken online at home or in the office within 72 hours rather than in six hours as previously required. Test results will also be made available to candidates immediately after completion.

“The NKBA recognizes the importance of maintaining professional development and design certifications, and we want to strengthen these standards and, at the same time, allow students and non-certified members better access to these training resources,” said Bill Darcy, CEO of the NKBA.

CEU Requirements

Another change is that NKBA members who earn their CKBD will now be required to complete 20 continuing education unit-hours (CEUs) in each two-year cycle to keep the certification rather than the 12 CEUs required in the past. The first of the new two-year cycles runs from July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2018.

“By requiring more rigorous CEU program requirements, the NKBA will be regarded as the gold standard in continuing industry education and will greatly increase the value of our members’ achievements,” Darcy stated.

Associate Certification Expanded

Students who attend any of the 40 college programs accredited by the NKBA will now be able to take an exam for Associate Kitchen & Bath Designer (AKBD) certification after completing 85 percent of their coursework. However, non-students will still be subject to the existing pre-requisites of two years’ experience and 30 education-hours to sit for the AKBD exam.

Complete CKBD and AKBD candidate requirements can be found on the NKBA website.