Understanding Designer Certifications

Many pros have a series of letters after their names. Find out what those designations mean
Couple with Designer

Designer Discusses Kitchen Renovations with Owners

Designer meets with homeowners to discuss kitchen renovations.

Photo by: Comstock


By: Kristen Hampshire

Confused by the alphabet soup of letters following your designer’s name? Learn what the acronyms for the most common certifications mean.

AKBD (Associate Kitchen & Bath Designer)

CKD (Certified Kitchen Designer)

  • Minimum 7 years kitchen design experience.
  • Minimum 4 years of formal design education or 60 hours of NKBA professional development.

CMKBD (Certified Master Kitchen & Bath Designer)

  • More than 17 years of industry experience.
  • Has CKD and CBD (Certified Bath Designer) certifications.
  • At least 100 hours of NKBA professional development or equivalent formal design education

LEED AP (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, Accredited Professional)

  • LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system founded by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in 1993.
  • Accredited professional (AP) and Green Associate certification is earned by working on LEED-accredited projects and earning Continuing Education hours through the USGBC.

CAPS (Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist)

  • Certification earned through the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)
  • Certified specialists are well versed in Universal Design principles and how to implement those in the residential environment.
  • Curriculum teaches technical, business management, customer service and critical skills modifying homes for the aging-in-place.

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