Cabinet Designer: Job Outlook & Career Info

Mar 05, 2019

Learn about the range of skills cabinet designers, or woodworkers, possess, in addition to how they gain their training. Find out the salary expectations and employment outlook for this career as well to see if this is the job for you.

Career Definition for a Cabinet Designer

Cabinet designers plan, create and install cabinets. They work for home construction companies, interior design firms, carpenters or general contractors. A successful career in cabinet design requires both aesthetic and technical skills to envision a design and accurately execute it.

Required Education Apprenticeships, or associate's or bachelor's degree programs in woodworking
Required Skills Understanding of aesthetics, colors, necessary tools and processes and the ability to be precise in measuring and tool use
Career Outlook (2016 to 2026)* 2% growth
Median Annual Salary (2017)* $33,920

*Source: U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

There are different backgrounds that can qualify you for a career in cabinet design. While traditionally a field in which future cabinet designers are trained through an apprenticeship, there are now degree programs available to qualify you for a career in cabinet design. An associate's or bachelor's degree in woodworking, taking from 2-4 years, respectively, qualifies you for an entry-level position as a cabinet designer. Relevant coursework could include design and layout, use of hand and machine tools, identification and use of wood and composite materials, in addition to the use of computer design software.

Skills Required

Cabinet design, as a specialty of woodworking, requires an understanding of aesthetics, colors, design and space. To be successful as a cabinet designer, you'll also need a concrete understanding of the tools and processes necessary to create and install cabinets. These skills would include woodworking, use of tools and machines, ability to measure and cut precisely and being timely, reliable and hardworking.

Career and Economic Outlook

Economic data for 2017 indicated the median annual salary was $33,920 for cabinetmakers and bench carpenters, including cabinet designers. Overall employment for cabinet designers is expected to grow slower than average, at a rate of 2% from 2016 to 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Alternate Career Options

Similar careers include:


Learning their trade through technical school programs, apprenticeships or on-the-job training, carpenters build and repair buildings and structures within those frameworks. They also install drywall, siding and cabinets. Average employment growth of 8% was predicted for carpenters from 2016 to 2026, and a median annual wage of $45,170 was reported by the BLS in 2017.

Machinist and Tool and Die Maker

Requiring a combination of approximately 4-5 years of vocational training, apprenticeship programs and on-the-job training to be fully prepared, machinists and tool and die makers set up and operate computer- and mechanically-controlled machine tools that make parts, tools and instruments. There will be little to no job growth of 1% projected for these workers by the BLS for the 2016 to 2026 decade. In 2017, tool and die makers earned an annual median salary of $52,480, while machinists took home $42,600, per the BLS.

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