Schools with Upholstery Programs: How to Choose

Upholsterers design, cut patterns and sew fabric to cover indoor and outdoor furniture in homes, boats and automobiles. Upholsterers may also design or construct furniture, develop patterns and choose fabrics. Certificate programs are available in the field.

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Certificate programs are offered at select community colleges and vary in scope and length, but typically consist of an average of 15 credit hours. Instruction begins with the history of furniture styles and progresses to the basics of planning, measuring, cutting fabric, pattern-making, sewing machine operation, buttoning and embroidering.

Upholstery Schools

You can find most upholstery programs at community colleges. Below is a sample of schools that offer certificate programs in upholstery:

College/University Location Institution Type Degree Offered Tuition (2016-2017)
Catawba Valley Community College Hickory, NC 2-year, Public Certificate $500*
Wallace State Community College Hanceville, AL 2-year, Public Certificate $4,320 in-state; $7,770 out-of-state (2015-16)**
Tarrant County Community College Fort Worth, TX 2-year, Public Certificate $1,075*
Surry Community College Dobson, NC 2-year, Public Certificate $183*
San Diego Continuing Education San Diego, CA Public Certificate $1,250-$3,750*
Riverside City College Riverside, CA 2-year, Public Certificate $954*

Sources:*School Websites, **NCES College Navigator

School Selection Criteria

Possible considerations before choosing a program that is right for you:

  • A program with more lab experience might enable individuals to better develop their design and construction skills, which may make them more employable.
  • Instruction in automobile upholstery may make graduates eligible for employment by car manufacturers or repair shops.
  • Furniture design training may make graduates eligible for more jobs.
  • Look for programs that work closely with local furniture and design companies that may offer internships.

Upholstery Certificate Programs

Design-oriented programs provide instruction in embroidery, fabric qualities and furniture construction. Instruction in these programs is a combination of lecture and lab work. Some programs emphasize the use of automated cutting machinery. Entrepreneurial programs will offer a basic introduction to small business skills such as estimation and project cost control, customer relations and tax law.

Individuals looking to start or advance their career in upholstery will have no trouble finding programs at their local community colleges. Individuals should consider their goals, since programs vary in course hours and price.

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