Woodworking Classes in Massachusetts with Career Training Options

Research woodworking classes in Massachusetts, which currently has six schools offering programs. Read an overview of courses, tuition info and program options for these schools and decide which program is right for you.

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Essential Information

Massachusetts students seeking woodworking classes can choose among programs at community colleges, trade schools, state universities or art schools. Some of the available programs focus on construction career skills, while others focus on the artistic aspects of woodworking. Many classes are offered as stand-alone courses through continuing education departments, while others are part of furniture design, engineering, artisan or architecture programs.

Coursework varies widely by school and can include basic woodworking skills, joinery, furniture making, sculpture, wood engineering and even instrument repair. Continue reading to get a better idea of the varied course options available for woodworking students in this state.

Massachusetts College of Art and Design

Founded in 1873, the Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) is located in Boston and serves over 2,400 students. MassArt offers 22 undergraduate programs, 10 master's programs and more than 100 continuing education classes. Woodworking courses offered by the Professional and Continuing Education program can be taken for undergraduate or graduate credit or can be audited; costs vary depending on the option chosen. The college also offers a Furniture Design Certificate, which requires eight core courses covering the design, construction and history of furniture, along with two electives. Prior to entering this certificate program, students must take two prerequisite fundamental woodworking and wood machine courses at North Bennet Street School (NBSS). There are three woodworking teachers in the continuing education program and six woodworking faculty members in the certificate program.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT, is located in Cambridge and was ranked the seventh top national university by U.S. News & World Report in 2016. MIT's Architectural Design Division, which has 32 faculty members, offers a for-credit furniture making workshop that's co-taught by two faculty members. This course, which is designed for architecture students, includes training in traditional woodworking tools and machinery, as well as in millwork and steam bending lumber. Students submit a design proposal and craft a piece of furniture in the on-campus wood shop to be presented in a final exhibition. In addition to the furniture making training available on campus, MIT makes course materials from a 2005 furniture making class available for free online through MIT's OpenCourseware platform. Students can access or download a reading list, schedule, lecture notes and videos, assignment descriptions and photos of students' final projects.

Montserrat College of Art

Beverly's Montserrat College of Art enrolls just under 400 students and has programs in nine concentrations of studio art. Students can learn about woodworking through the sculpture program, which has five faculty members. The program offers a course focused on woodworking and a mixed media class about wood and stone carving. The woodworking class teaches students how to create frames, shelves and boxes using woodworking equipment, such as saws and joinery. Students interested in a degree might choose to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture. While the focus of the sculpture program is not in woodworking, students interested in creating artwork using wood could do so through special topics and independent study courses.

North Bennet Street School

Founded in Boston in 1881, North Bennet Street School (NBSS) administers trade education programs in carpentry, furniture making, musical instrument repair and construction and other crafts. Woodworking programs are located at the North End campus, except for those in carpentry, which are housed in Arlington. With 18 faculty members, NBSS provides its 150 students with the opportunity to work closely with instructors and each other. NBSS offers a variety of woodworking workshops on topics like table and chair construction. Students can also choose from the college's full-time diploma programs, including a 2-year cabinet and furniture making program, a 36-week intensive carpentry program, a unique 2-year program in preservation carpentry and a 3-year violin construction and repair program. NBSS also has a piano technology program that teaches students how to tune and repair grand and upright pianos.

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

UMass Amhert, located in Amherst, is the largest school in the state offering woodworking programs, enrolling over 28,000 students annually. Students interested in woodworking classes will find options through the university's Building and Construction Technology (BCT) program, which has 11 faculty members and a wood mechanics laboratory. In a wood design studio course, students work as a team to design, build and test a large wooden structure, such as a pedestrian bridge. Other courses related to woodworking cover the properties of wood, the mechanics of various wood-based materials and the engineering of wood structures. These courses can be taken through a minor in BCT or a Bachelor of Science in BCT. Students interested in engineering and the properties of wood as a building material may wish to pursue UMass Amherst's Master of Science or Ph.D. in Wood Engineering.

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

UMass Dartmouth is in North Dartmouth and enrolls over 9,000 students. Through its College of Visual and Performing Arts, students can take graduate studio courses or earn a post-baccalaureate certificate or master's degree in furniture design. Students have access to a woodworking facility at UMass Dartmouth's New Bedford campus. It's equipped with a machine room, a grinding and sanding room, a spray booth and individual graduate studios. The college offers first-, second- and third-level graduate studio courses in wood and furniture design. Through the post-baccalaureate program, students can take nine credits of coursework in order to develop skills past the undergraduate level. Students interested in a graduate degree can earn an MFA in Artisanry Wood/Furniture Design, which requires 60 credits of coursework in traditional and sculptural woodworking.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Woodworking Courses Offered Tuition
Massachusetts College of Art and Design Four-year, public; large city Furniture Design Classes,
Furniture Design Certificate (in conjunction with North Bennet Street School)
$11,725 in-state, $31,225 out-of-state (undergraduate tuition 2015-2016)**
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Four-year, private not-for-profit; midsize city Furniture Making Workshop (for students of architecture),
OCW Furniture Making Class
$49,272 (graduate tuition 2015-2016)**
Montserrat College of Art Four-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb Bachelor of Fine Arts with a Concentration in Sculpture $29,550 (undergraduate tuition 2015-2016)**
North Bennet Street School Two-year, private not-for profit; large city Diploma of Cabinet and Furniture Making (two years),
Diploma of Carpentry (one year),
Diploma of Preservation Carpentry (two years,
Diploma of Violin Making and Repair (three years)
$23,400 - $25,400 per year (2015-2016)*
University of Massachusetts, Amherst Four-year, public; large suburb Bachelor of Science in Building and Construction Technology (BCT),
Minor in BCT
$14,171 in-state; $30,504 out-of-state (2015-2016)**
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Four-year, public; midsize suburb Graduate Studio Courses in Wood/Furniture Design,
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Artisanry: Wood/Furniture Design,
MFA in Artisanry Wood/Furniture Design
$14,699 in-state; $20,727out-of-state (average graduate tuition in 2015-2016)**

Source: *Schools' Websites, **NCES College Navigator.

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