The AACC Interior Design program has been granted full National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) accreditation. AACC is one of only two higher education institutions in Maryland to be awarded this accreditation.
“We’re thrilled,” said Janet Haddock, the interior design instructional specialist who headed the charge for accreditation. “It’s absolutely a big deal.” The accreditation process spanned three years, with site visits and rigorous curriculum evaluations, along with a few staffing changes within NKBA that set things back.
Haddock said when she started at AACC 10 years ago there had been some discussion about a specialized program to set AACC apart from other design programs in Maryland, but with changes in the industry, the need for a more focused kitchen and bath track became clear.
“We’ve done it at a very challenging time,” Haddock said, as private design firms have closed their doors in recent years. AACC recognized that kitchen and bath is an investment area of interior design; if people are going to spend their money, they’re going to spend it improving the value of their homes.”
“Things are picking up for our industry, the accreditation gives an edge to the program and ultimately the students, said Haddock. “People feel like their money is more solidly invested… they understand what it means when a college is accredited.”
Because there are no four year programs in the state, the program caters to both students who would like to transfer to a four-year school, as well as those wishing to join the workforce after leaving AACC. The kitchen and bath program is an optional pathway in AACC’s Advanced Interior Design Certificate.
NKBA is the Kitchen and Bath industry’s professional organization. As an educational provider, AACC is training students to become professionals according to NKBA Standards and Guidelines. AACC provides graduates the chance to be uniquely qualified for NKBA certification (AKBD, CKD and CBD) and employment in the kitchen and bath industry. NKBA is the premier association for kitchen and bath professionals, with nearly 60,000 members and more than 14,000 NKBA member firms across North America.