Furniture Manufacturing and Design

Furniture manufacturers and designers are skilled and creative craftspersons who work with wood, fabrics and metal to create furniture pieces. Read on for more information about apprenticeships, degree programs and potential earnings for furniture designers and woodworkers.

Are Furniture Manufacturing and Design for Me?

Career Overview

Contemporary furniture manufacturing and design are highly technical fields, where craftspeople and designers use fabrics, metal, plastics and wood to produce quality products. Automated and computerized equipment are essential to mass production, which usually takes place on an assembly line. Traditional woodworking skills, including the use of drill presses and nailing machines, are also important when constructing handcrafted pieces.

Areas of Specialization

Creative and technical responsibilities can vary according to your area of specialization. For example, as a cabinetmaker or bench carpenter, you might create customized cabinets for commercial or residential customers. By comparison, a position as an architectural woodworker would allow you to design and produce custom interior pieces for a specific building or location. As a carpenter, your activities might include constructing, installing and repairing wooden structures and storage units.

If you are more interested in working with metal or plastic components, you might consider training as a metal-decorating pressman and learning how to solder and weld. Some sculpting programs also include instruction in metalworking.

Career and Salary Outlook

A high school diploma is the minimum requirement for obtaining an entry-level position in cabinetry, carpentry and general woodworking. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average yearly wage for cabinetmakers and bench carpenters was $32,960, as of May 2013. At that same time, furniture finishers and carpenters earned $30,140 and $44,980 respectively. Interior designers, which may include furniture experts, had an average annual income of $54,200, as of May 2013 (

How Can I Work in Furniture Manufacturing and Design?

Apprenticeships and Degree Programs

Many carpenters and woodworkers learn their craft on the job through supervised apprenticeships, which can take up to three years to complete. Formal degree programs in furniture manufacturing and design are also available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In addition to traditional woodworking and finishing techniques, the curriculum may include topics in business and marketing. Some schools provide opportunities for internships.

Undergraduate Programs

A Bachelor of Fine Arts in Furniture Design usually requires 120 credits to complete and includes introductory studies in art, design and drawing. You'll also pursue more specialized topics in computer design and modeling, furniture design history and woodworking. Individual programs may provide training in fabric applications, metalworking and plastics construction. Expect to spend a considerable amount of time in the studio developing your creative and construction abilities.

Graduate Programs

Graduate programs in furniture design can lead to a Master of Arts or Master of Fine Arts, which typically require 45 and 60 credits of coursework respectively. At this level, you may study advanced art and design theory, the evolution of furniture design, experimental fabrications and interior design. Along with studio work, you might also conduct research and participate in critiques. Additional requirements can include a final project, unique line of furniture or written thesis. Depending on the school, graduate field and teaching internships may also be available.

Related Articles for Furniture Manufacturing and Design

View More Articles

Related Videos

  • What is a Degree in Textile Design? - Video

    Degree programs in Textile Design prepare students for careers in the billion-dollar textile industry. After earning a degree, students can work for manufacturing companies, design firms or retailers. Opportunities are also available for freelance designers. Learn more about earning a degree in Textile Design here.
  • What is Industrial Design? - Video

    Industrial Design is a cross between engineering and art. Students who major in Interior Design learn how to create and manufacture safe, functional and innovative products for everyday use. After earning a degree in Industrial Design, students can work for manufacturing, engineering and design firms.
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • CDI College

    CDI College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at CDI College:

    • Certificates

    Campus Locations:

    • Anywhere: Burnaby, Richmond, Surrey
  • Fortis College

    Fortis College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Fortis College:

    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Western Piedmont Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • North Carolina: Morganton
  • Washington-Holmes Technical Center

    Campus Locations:

    • Florida: Chipley
  • Washburn Institute of Technology

    Campus Locations:

    • Kansas: Topeka
  • Utah Valley University

    Campus Locations:

    • Utah: Orem
  • University of Rio Grande

    Campus Locations:

    • Ohio: Rio Grande
  • Uintah Basin Applied Technology College

    Campus Locations:

    • Utah: Roosevelt
  • Rochester Institute of Technology

    Campus Locations:

    • New York: Rochester
  • The Landing School

    Campus Locations:

    • Maine: Arundel