Cabinetmaking and Millwork

Find out how you can implement your love of crafting and creating interesting wood designs that are also eye-catching. Formal training programs are available in the fields of cabinetmaking and millwork. See what courses you could take and what the job outlook is for this career.

Is Cabinetmaking or Millwork for Me?

Career Overview

Cabinetmakers and millworkers use hand tools and automated machines to design and build wood fixtures. Cabinetmakers make cabinets and related fixtures for offices, stores and homes. Millworkers build fixtures such as doors, molding and trim. These workers are comfortable using power saws, routers, planes and other sharp tools and machines. Skills with computers can also be useful to workers in this field, since computer-operated machinery is becoming more prevalent. You should also be ready to consistently work with your hands and have knowledge of different wood products to work as a cabinetmaker or millworker.

Employment Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected an eight percent increase in job opportunities for woodworkers in general from 2012-2022, which is average for all occupations (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that cabinetmakers and bench carpenters made a median annual salary of $31,110 in 2013. With experience, opportunities for advancement to positions such as supervisor or inspector are available. Some cabinetmakers and millworkers may eventually open their own woodworking shops.

How Can I Become a Cabinetmaker or Millworker?

Education

Most woodworking employers prefer you to have completed high school. Courses in math, computers and drafting can be useful if you wish to become a millworker or cabinetmaker. Although college courses and degree programs are not normally required to become a cabinetmaker, you can learn woodworking skills and be prepared to work as a manager or supervisor through a degree program.

A variety of learning options are available, depending on what you wish to accomplish as a cabinetmaker or millworker. An associate's degree in cabinetmaking and millwork can teach you the necessary skills, like planning, tool safety and construction methods, needed to work in the construction or manufacturing sectors of the woodworking industry. Woodworking course options for this degree program may include measurements for woodworking, cabinet detailing and cabinet installation. Some cabinetmaking programs may include courses on working with materials other than wood as well, such as laminated plastic.

If you don't want to enroll in a full-time degree program, some colleges offer a cabinetmaking systems technology certificate. A certificate program in cabinetmaking might include courses on millwork and shop management. Some technical colleges offer a technical diploma in cabinetmaking and millwork. A technical diploma in woodworking takes a year to complete and may offer courses in writing and communication skills in addition to the standard woodworking courses.

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