What Are the Educational Requirements for a Cabinet Maker Career?

Cabinet makers use power and hand tools to craft consumer goods from timber. While there are no formal educational requirements for a career as a cabinet maker, it generally takes at least two years of on-the-job training to acquire the necessary skills of the trade. Schools offering Furniture & Cabinet Maker degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

Cabinet makers are precision woodworkers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) defines precision woodworkers as craftsmen who complete a full cycle of tasks, from cutting to assembling, which results in a one-of-a-kind finished product. In 2014, cabinet makers and bench carpenters made up the largest percentage of the woodworking field, accounting for about 39% of the woodworking work force.

Cabinet makers and bench makers earned an average of $33,500 per year in May 2014, according to the BLS. The BLS predicted average growth for the woodworking field, including cabinet makers, between 2014 and 2024, noting that highly qualified candidates should have good job prospects. Additionally, woodworkers with advanced knowledge of computerized techniques were expected to be in high demand.

Important Facts about this Occupation

Key Skills Attention to detail, dexterity, ability to use power tools, understanding of math, physical strength
Certification Available, not required
Work Environment Exposed to harmful materials such as dust and chemicals; high rate of injuries and illness
Similar Occupations Sheet metal workers, carpenters, machinists and tool makers, structural iron and steel workers

Educational Requirements

Cabinet makers are not required to have completed formal education related to the trade, but most employers prefer to hire individuals with a minimum of a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) credential. The BLS reports that a minimum of three years' experience generally is required to become a skilled craftsman. Most training takes place on-the-job while working under experienced professionals.

Cabinet-making apprenticeships offer formal training and supervised practice and are the preferred training avenue for aspiring carpenters who have just graduated from high school. They can take around four years to complete. Additionally, some trade and vocational schools offer certificate or diploma programs in cabinet making, while other schools feature associate's degree programs in woodworking. Courses in a cabinet-making program might include:

  • Designing and constructing furniture
  • Reading blueprints
  • Computer-aided drafting and drawing
  • Furniture design and construction

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