Cabinet Maker Career: Job Info & Training Requirements

Apr 07, 2019

Cabinet makers work with wood to build and install cabinets and cupboards. Keep reading to learn more about the required training and skills to begin a career as a cabinet maker.

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Career Definition for a Cabinet Maker

Cabinet makers are specific types of woodworkers who create and install cabinets in bathrooms, kitchens, other areas of homes and businesses. Typical duties of cabinet makers include designing custom cabinets, making cabinets, installing cabinetry, consulting with clients and other duties as needed. Cabinet makers are responsible for cutting and shaping wood, preparing surfaces and forming a completed product.

Education High school diploma required, vocational and trade school programs available
Job Skills Manual dexterity, math and spatial skills, understanding of tools and principles
Median Salary (2018)* $34,740 for cabinet makers and bench carpenters
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 2% for cabinet makers and bench carpenters

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

While woodworking lacks formal educational requirements, most employers will look for candidates with at least a high school diploma. Modern woodworking equipment is complex, and a degree from a vocational or trade school can show potential employers that you're both qualified and serious about the trade. Common courses in a 1- or 2-year program that can prepare you to become a cabinet maker include furniture design and construction, carving, elements of design, cabinet making and finishing.

Skills Required

To be successful as a cabinet maker, you not only need to be good with your hands, but you must also have good math and spatial skills. A thorough understanding of the tools you'll use and principles of design are required for a career in woodworking.

Employment and Economic Outlook

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment outlook expected for woodworkers in general was minimal, at 1%. However, employment for cabinetmakers and bench carpenters, specifically, was predicted to increase by 2% from 2016-2026, which is still slower than average growth. Median annual earnings for cabinet makers and bench carpenters in 2018 were $34,740.

Alternate Career Options

Consider these alternate options for careers in carpentry:

Carpenter

After earning a high school diploma or its equivalent, aspiring carpenters may learn their skills through apprenticeships, technical school programs or on-the-job training. These professionals build or repair existing structures for buildings, sometimes putting up cabinets, drywall and siding, in addition. The BLS expected average job growth for carpenters during the 2016-2026 decade, with an 8% increase in jobs expected. In 2017, a median annual salary of $45,170 was reported by the BLS for this occupation.

Wood Sawing Machine Setter, Operator and Tender

Also a part of the broad field of woodworkers, this occupation involves working with computer numerically-controlled (CNC) machines and operating other types of woodworking machinery. In addition to a high school diploma, many of these workers gain training in computers and math at community colleges and technical schools. Little to no change in employment was predicted by the BLS, from 2016-2026, for this occupation that offered a yearly median wage of $29,500 in 2018.

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