Upholstery and Leatherworking

Furniture and automotive manufacturing are two industries that utilize the skills of upholsters and leatherworkers. Learn about employment outlook, salary information, certificate programs and course topics.

Is Leatherworking and Upholstery for Me?

Career Overview

Leatherworkers use a variety of tools to cut, sew and rivet pieces of leather to make products, such as shoes or wallets. Upholstery workers fit and secure materials on furniture and car seats. Both jobs usually include repair work, so knowledge of fabrics and restoration methods is necessary.

Employment Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment of leatherworkers is expected to decline by 14% from 2012-2022; meanwhile, the number of jobs for upholsterers is projected to increase 1% during that same decade (www.bls.gov). In May 2013, leatherworkers made a median annual income of $25,030, and upholsterers made $30,750, according to the BLS. You can eventually become a manager for an upholstery or leatherworking business with enough experience. If you have an understanding of business practices, you can possibly even open up your own business.

How Can I Work in Upholstery and Leatherworking?

Training and Education Overview

These occupations do not require extensive education, and not all leatherworkers and upholsterers have completed high school. Aspiring leatherworkers usually learn your leatherworking skills from an experienced leatherworker, and training can last up to two years. Upholstery workers also learn from experienced workers, and you may need up to three years to complete training. You might also train through an apprenticeship for either occupation.

College Options

Although postsecondary education is not required, it can give you more employment opportunities or allow you to work in supervisory positions. Classes and certificate programs are available for both professions.

Leatherworking Certificates

You can take career training programs in saddle making and boot making if you want to become a leatherworker. If you would prefer to make items like purses, belts and other clothing accessories, you can take courses in leather materials, leather manipulation techniques and decorative leather.

Upholstery Certificates

You can earn a certificate in auto or household upholstery. These programs cover basic techniques for installing upholstery, as well as the methods for the specific area of upholstery installation you hope to work in. Some upholstery certificate programs cover both auto and household upholstery. A sample of possible courses you can take in a certificate program includes furniture restoration, decorator accessories and designer fabrics. After enough training and experience, you can work on designing upholstery for custom projects.

Required Skills

You need good dexterity and to be comfortable using your hands if you want to work as a leatherworker. These same qualifies will serve you well if you want to work as an upholsterer instead.

Related Articles for Upholstery and Leatherworking

  • What are Some U.S. Schools that Offer Upholstery Classes?

    Upholstery classes can be found at a few schools throughout the U.S. These courses are often stand-alone or career-training courses, but some might result in a diploma or certificate. Keep reading to learn more about the types of upholstery...
  • Where Can I Find Free Online Upholstery Lessons and Courses?

    Online upholstery lessons are available for free from the websites listed below. These tutorials are designed to help interested individuals learn about upholstery topics, including tools and materials, at their convenience.
  • Where Can I Take an Upholstery Correspondence Course?

    Upholstery correspondence courses are rare, because training courses often require hands-on learning. Private organizations, trade associations and upholstery businesses may offer in-person training courses. Community colleges and vocational...

View More Articles

Related Videos

  • How Do I Become a Preschool Teacher? - Video

    Teaching is among the most important and rewarding professions. Preschool teachers can be particularly instrumental in the formative years of a child's development. While these programs were once limited, increased funding for Head Start and other preK initiatives has employment opportunities in this area of education on the rise. Those interested in becoming educators can select from countless teacher prep programs available throughout the country.
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

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • Western Piedmont Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • North Carolina: Morganton
  • Texarkana College

    Campus Locations:

    • Texas: Texarkana
  • Spokane Falls Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Washington: Spokane
  • Southern Union State Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Alabama: Wadley
  • Riverside City College

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Riverside
  • John C Calhoun State Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Alabama: Tanner
  • Guilford Technical Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • North Carolina: Jamestown
  • Green Country Technology Center

    Campus Locations:

    • Oklahoma: Okmulgee
  • Oklahoma State University

    Campus Locations:

    • Oklahoma: Okmulgee