Formal education is typically not required to become a furniture maker, but certificate and associate's degree programs are available. It is also common to work as an apprentice under the guidance of a skilled furniture tradesman or take additional training courses. Programs can take anywhere from one semester to two years to finish. Depending on your program, you may be able to complete some courses online. Hands-on training experience is an essential part of training for this trade.
Associate of Applied Science
While pursuing a career in furniture making, students seeking additional education may wish to enroll in a two-year associate's degree program. In addition to general education requirements students receive instruction in:
- Woodworking fundamentals
- Using machine and hand tools
- Furniture design
- Tool construction
Furniture Making Certificate Programs
Several schools in the US offer certificate programs in furniture making. Aspiring furniture makers take some of the following courses:
- Basic woodworking
- Wood carving
- Chair and table building
On-The-Job Training Options
Several years of on-the-job training are usually required to achieve mastery at furniture making. Internships and apprenticeships are available from master craftsmen and through studio-based educational programs. Apprentices provide support by assisting with basic skills such as sanding and tool maintenance. Gradually, they progress to more complicated projects.
Many workshops are available to professional and hobbyist furniture makers and are usually offered through community colleges or woodworking businesses. These courses focus on building skills such as dovetailing joints, or using specific tools. Additionally, The Furniture Society, a professional organization that works to advance furniture making, sponsors an annual convention for members.
Furniture makers work with wood and other materials to design and create objects that can be used in homes and businesses for storage, seating, everyday living and decorative purposes. Some furniture makers work privately and produce furniture on a small scale, while others construct furniture for corporate clients.
According to the BLS (www.bls.gov), the job growth outlook for woodworkers is -1% from 2014-2024, which means these jobs are on the decline. This could be due to new technology, such as computerized machines being used in the field. The median salary for furniture finishers was $29,200 in 2015.
Furniture maker training can come from either certificate programs, associate's degrees, or on-the-job training, all of which teach students the fundamentals of working with wood and various materials to build objects. Many graduates from on-the-job training programs can go to work where they were training, and supplementary workshop programs are available for those wishing to improve their skills.