Online training programs for cabinet makers are rare, but individuals interested in learning this profession can find a few programs at the diploma and associate's degree level. Degrees in cabinet making, carpentry and building construction all feature cabinet making courses. Diplomas can be earned totally through online study, while associate's degree programs usually require a combination of online and on-campus classes.
Students watch lessons online and communicate with instructors and classmates through e-mail, message boards or chat functions. In addition to an up-to-date computer and good Internet connection, students need a full complement of woodworking tools, which are sometimes included in the cost of tuition.
A diploma program usually consists of individual lessons that students complete at their own pace. They watch the lesson, complete an assignment and take an exam before moving on to the next task. In these programs, students explore basic woodworking techniques such as joinery and finishing and learn to use and care for their tools.
In a hybrid associate's degree program in cabinet making, students usually are able to take their general education courses online, but must complete the hands-on cabinet making training at the school. They learn to handle woodworking tools and complete cabinet making projects.
Cabinet Maker Diploma
Although rarely offered online, diploma programs in cabinet making focus on various woodworking specialty topics, including processing, materials, finishing and marketing.
The programs educate learners by providing them with step-by-step instructions to craft actual projects. There are no prerequisites for entry. Students are required to furnish their own tools and supplies.
Program Information and Requirements
Students enroll in these programs online, and are provided a student ID for access to online materials. Specific tools are required for participation, such as a C-clamp, tape measure, hammer, chisel set, dovetail saw, combination square, and T-bevel, as well as wood, paint and other materials. Exams are also offered online, and students must meet passing scores before continuing to the next lesson. The eight lessons are accessed at the participant's pace and convenience, and can take anywhere from a few months to two years to complete.
To attend these programs, students need access to a personal computer and Internet service. E-mail is normally used for communication and questions, and some schools also offer a phone number to call during specific hours of operation.
Courses in these online diploma programs focus on fine woodworking design and development. Typical topics also include layout, finishing and fasteners. Some common classes are outlined below:
Fine Woodworking Design
This class explores how wood is processed and overall wood specialties. Students also learn design techniques, and the materials used in different styles of cabinetry and furniture.
Joinery and Fastener
Students learn theory and procedures used in joinery and fastener identification. Different applications are studied and how to use the best method or fastener. The class also covers how to make a mortise and tenon joint, along with biscuit joints and dovetails.
Finishing and Refinishing
This class teaches students how to choose a finish and technique for specific wood products and projects. Some of the topics include preparing wood for application of a finish, including sanding, scraping, degreasing, de-waxing and stripping. Finishes composed of oil, wax, paint, lacquer or varnish (in brushable, wipe-on and sprayable forms) and wax polishes are also examined.
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Cabinet Maker Associate's Degree
Online associate's degree programs are rarely offered; however, hybrid programs are available in carpentry or building construction. Students learn estimation, terminology, practices, designs and production techniques used in cabinet making. Typically, general education courses and some didactic classes are offered online. Students may need specific tools to participate in the hands-on portions of the program. Graduates are awarded an Associate of Applied Science degree.
Program Information and Requirements
These programs take approximately two years to complete, depending on participation in a summer term of classes. The first year focuses on fundamentals and introductory carpentry, construction and related subject material. Practical hands-on education is completed in on-site labs or garages at the school. Safety and proper use of all tools in cabinetry is learned in the hands-on training. Total course credit requirements for graduation range from 80-110 credits.
Any online coursework offered is accessed via a personal computer at any location. Most of the courses are delivered in person, but students should check for any specific hardware or software requirements if taking general education courses online.
Courses in these online programs focus on skills in building construction, cabinetry, and project management, as well as applicable building codes and laws. General education courses in algebra, geometry, trigonometry, communications, speech, computers, humanities and social sciences are also typically required. Some general education classes offered online at many schools are listed below.
This course covers beginning algebra concepts and factoring. Topics of study include expressions, real numbers, equations, inequalities, graphing, polynomials and signed number operations.
Professional and Business Communications
Students develop oral and written communication skills used in business with co-workers and customers. Topics of study include organizational theory, communication history, teamwork, conflict management and listening skills.
This class teaches students how to research, write and deliver an effective speech. Students study rhetorical techniques, delivery skills and preparation styles used in expository, motivational and persuasive speeches.
Cabinetmakers and bench carpenters earned a median wage of $15.52 per hour in May of 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Also reported by the BLS, the highest level of employment in the field was in household and institutional furniture and kitchen cabinet manufacturing (www.bls.gov).
The BLS reported that in 2014 woodworkers held approximately 237,200 jobs. Of those jobs, roughly 65% were in some type of manufacturing. The BLS also reported that employment in the field was expected to decline by 1% from 2014-2024.
Continuing Education Information
While cabinet makers are mainly trained on the job, additional education is valuable for those aspiring to advance in carpentry. Additional educational degrees are available in the areas of wood technology, engineering, manufacturing and production. Training in areas such as computer aided drafting (CAD) is also valuable in designing cabinetry and other wood products.
In addition, the Association of Woodworking and Furnishings Suppliers (AWFS) offers educational resources for those who want further training in cabinet making. Seminars, workshops, demonstrations and online training information are some of the options available.
Aspiring cabinet makers can find online training programs for diplomas, which can be completed online, or associate's degrees, which require significant in-person training. These programs prepare students for woodworking careers through courses on woodworking techniques as well as business management.