Woodworking Classes in California with Program Descriptions

Jul 24, 2019

Research woodworking classes in California, which currently has approximately 20 schools offering programs. Read an overview of courses, tuition info and program options for ten of these schools and decide which one is right for you.

Essential Information

Students who are interested in woodworking, either as a career or a hobby, can find classes through certificate and vocational degree programs. Furniture making and opportunities for wood sculpture can also be found at schools that offer studio art programs. In California, a wide range of programs in the field are available, including individuals classes as well as formal educational programs. While degree programs include general education programs, all woodworking programs focus primarily on the development of hands-on skills with respect to safety measures.

Read on to find out more about the schools in California that offer woodworking programs and courses.

Bakersfield College

Bakersfield College enrolls over 17,000 for-credit students and offers classes, certificate and degrees in woodworking. The programs provide aspiring craftspeople with the chance to work with a variety of machines and woods, while crafting original furniture and cabinetry.

By completing six credits in cabinetry, furniture making or woodworking, students can earn a Job Skills Certificate. Training topics include the use of hand and machine tools, modular construction and wood finishing.

The Associate in Science curriculum includes 29 credits of major coursework in cabinetry, computer-aided design and woodworking technology, as well as electives in industrial drawing and machine tool procedures. A similar course of study is also available through the 33-credit cabinetmaking certificate.

California State University - San Bernardino

The state university in San Bernardino provides academic services for over 17,000 matriculating students, and in 2013, the university ranked as the 17th top public school in the West by US News & World Report.

Through the Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art program, undergraduates can take two, 5-credit courses in beginning and advanced furniture design and woodworking. The program emphasizes the artistic aspect of the design process from concept to finished product.

Cerritos College

Cerritos College in Norwalk serves over 21,000 credit students each year with certificate and degree programs for recent high school graduates and adult learners. The Cerritos College Woodworking school is housed in 27,000 square-feet of space and is equipped with over 100 woodworking machines. Under the direction of 20 instructors, the school offers more than 50 classes in woodworking, including those in architectural millwork, cabinet and furniture making, routing and veneering.

Students in the 2-year cabinetry program learn how to work with Cabinet Vision Solid software and computer numerical control equipment (CNC) while constructing face-frame and frameless cabinets. Training topics associated with the custom furniture-making program include casegoods, design, finishing, table construction and the use of hand tools.

Professionals interested in teaching woodworking may also want to look into the Comprehensive Woodworking Program. Transfer options in construction management are available through the Associate of Arts program, and to fulfill the elective requirements, degree-seeking students may be able to take courses in woodworking.

Recent enrichment classes included a 6-session course in woodworking basics, as well as a 7-session program that teaches students how to use woodwork in contemporary spaces ($265 - $279; 2013).

El Camino College

El Camino College enrolls over 24,000 matriculating students at its Torrance campus. The Industry and Technology Division offers woodworking courses through its construction technology program, which currently consists of five faculty members and a technician.

Students who pursue the certificate or degree programs with an option in construction technology take a core course in cabinet and furniture building. They can also learn how to frame roofs and stairs.

Requirements and electives for the certificate and degree programs in cabinet and fine woodworking include an advanced cabinetry lab and a course in Euro-style hardware. Students in both the construction and cabinet programs can also learn about business contracts, receive training in computer technology and participate in a cooperative work experience.

Laney College

Laney College is located in Oakland near the San Francisco Bay and currently enrolls around 12,000 students. The Wood Technology Department offers 1- and 2-year certificate programs in wood technology, computer-aided drafting and design, as well as an apprenticeship program and carpentry courses. Students have access to eight faculty members and a variety of woodworking machinery and equipment, including a lathe.

Through the vocational courses, aspiring professionals study artisan woodworking and furniture making and learn how to work with Japanese hand tools and joinery. The 4-year, Mill and Cabinet Maker Apprenticeship program combines evening classes with full-time work and leads to Journeyman status as a cabinetmaker.

The carpentry courses take place on campus and at designated work sites, and both beginning and experienced students have the opportunity to build or renovate new and existing homes.

Los Angeles Trade Technical College

This trade and technical college currently serves over 15,500 credit students from its campus in downtown Los Angeles. Through the Construction, Design and Manufacturing Department, full-time students can enroll in a daytime certificate or an Associate of Science program in cabinet and millwork. Evening programs for current craftspeople include a certificate program in construction technologies and an Associate of Arts in cabinetmaking and millwork that provide students with the skills they need to work in construction or manufacturing.

In general, students in the certificate and degree programs learn how to understand and create their own shop drawings and design custom cabinetry. In the process, they also find out how to use the same tools and machines employed in the woodworking business and assemble cabinets according to industry standards. Additional program topics include the use of contemporary hardware in design.

MiraCosta College

Located 40 miles north of San Diego in suburban Oceanside, MiraCosta College enrolls over 14,000 matriculating students per year. Through the Art Department, undergraduates pursuing an Associate in Arts can take a 3-credit elective in furniture design and woodworking, as well as two courses in sculpture that include the use of wood materials.

In addition to learning how to use both hand and power tools in a safe and appropriate manner, students in the woodworking class become familiar with the properties of hardwoods and softwoods. They also have a chance to explore both contemporary and traditional designs and develop their own creative concepts.

Palomar College

Palomar Community College in San Marcos, located about 35 miles north of San Diego, offers certificate, degree and life-long learning programs to more than 20,000 students a year. In particular, the Cabinetmaking and Furniture Technology Department offers in excess of 50 classes annually, and the present faculty is composed of four full-time teachers, 21 part-time instructors and 11 teaching assistants. As of Fall 2013, woodworking students will have access to a newly remodeled woodworking facility equipped with three machine rooms, three bench rooms, a saw mill and a finish room.

The department offers three certificates of achievements in cabinetmaking and furniture design (44-54 credits), furniture making (32-46 credits) or cabinetmaking and millwork (27 credits). Depending on the area of study, students take courses in machine woodworking or joinery, custom cabinetry, studio furniture design and finishing.

In addition to theses short courses of study, an associate's degree is available for students who complete both the certificate and the general education requirements.

University of California - Davis

The University of California in Davis is located about 15 miles from the state capital in Sacramento. Through the Craft Center, a campus-based recreational program, students and community members have access to small, hands-on woodworking classes that provide them with an abundance of individualized attention.

Currently, the Summer 2013 schedule includes courses in beginning woodworking and lathe technology. The center is also offering a wood studio qualification's class, a necessary prerequisite for the experienced craftsperson who is interested in acquiring a shop pass.

Students in the beginning woodworking class learn how to use a variety of tools, including a band, miter and table saw, a drill press, a jointer and a planer. Through the lathe technology class, students become familiar with a number of cutting, scraping and finishing techniques. Successful completion of the course leads to a lathe certification for the wood shop.

Victor Valley College

Victor Valley College is located in Victorville, about 85 miles east of Los Angeles. Enrolling over 12,000 credit students a year, the college offers programs in the arts, humanities and sciences, as well as career training in technology, engineering, health and public safety.

Through the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Division, students can earn a 17-credit Basic Woodworking Certificate. The curriculum consists of four classes, and students acquire a basic understanding of how to work with hand tools, power tools and other related equipment.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Woodworking Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)
Bakersfield College 2-year, public; large city Job Skills Certificate in Woodworking/Cabinetmaking,
Certificate of Achievement in Cabinetmaking,
Associate of Science in Industrial Technology: Woodworking and Cabinetmaking
$1,325 in-state; $7,261 out-of-state*
California State University at San Bernardino 4-year, public; midsize city Woodworking and Furniture Design Program $6,922 in-state; $18,802 out-of-state*
Cerritos College 2-year, public; small city Community Education Woodworking Classes,
Cabinetmaking Program,
Comprehensive Woodworking Program,
Furniture-Making Program
$1,346 in-state; $8,710 out-of-state*
El Camino College 2-year, public; large suburb Certificate of Achievement (cabinet and fine woodworking or construction technology),
Associate in Science (cabinet and fine woodworking or construction technology)
$1,144 in-state; $6,520 out-of-state*
Laney College 2-year, public; large city Wood Technology Courses,
Certificate of Completion in Wood Technology,
Certificate of Completion in CAD/CAM Techniques in the Woodworking Industry,
Certificate of Completion in Studio Furniture Design and Construction,
Mill and Cabinet Maker Apprenticeship Program
$1,254 in-state; $7,806 out-of-state*
Los Angeles Trade Technical College 2-year, public; large city Certificate of Completion in Cabinetmaking and Mill-Work,
Certificate of Completion in Construction Technology,
Associate of Arts in Cabinetmaking and Mill-Work Construction Technologies,
Associate of Science in Cabinet and Mill-Work,
Associate of Science in Carpentry
$1,220 in-state; $7,746 out-of-state*
MiraCosta College 2-year, public; large suburb Woodworking and Sculpture Courses $1,336 in-state; $6,768 out-of-state*
Palomar College 2-year, public; small city Cabinet and Furniture Design Certificate,
Cabinetmaking and Millwork Certificate,
Furniture Making Certificate,
Associate of Arts (furniture making, cabinet and furniture design or cabinetmaking and millwork)
$1,338 in-state; $8,702 out-of-state*
University of California - Davis 4-year, public; small suburb Craft Center Woodworking Classes $14,402 in-state
$43,394 out-of-state*
Victor Valley College 2-year, public; midsize city Basic Woodworking Certificate $1,126 in-state
$6,214 out-of-state*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

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