How to Become a Cabinet Maker

Cabinet makers are specialized woodworkers who design and build cabinets for a variety of clients. Cabinet makers are craftsmen who construct cabinets during all stages of planning and production. Cabinet makers design and follow specifications using various tools and machines to complete and install a finished product.
Cabinet makers must be experts with their hands. Cabinet makers must be physically able to stand, lift, and size heavy objects. Cabinet makers must be familiar with the trade and adaptable to working conditions. Cabinet makers must be detail oriented and precise to follow instructions and specifications to meet industry demands.

High school students interested in a career as a cabinet maker may prepare while in school. High school students who participate in courses like: English, algebra, business, and physical education may increase their chances of gaining acceptance into future training programs. Additionally, accessing a trade or vocational program in construction allows high school students to learn woodworking techniques, drafting basics, tool safety, and computer skills necessary to advance career and educational goals.

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High school graduates may advance to apprenticeship programs designed to combine classroom instruction with hands on experience. Apprenticeship programs generally require 5 to 7 years of training to gain skills necessary to qualify as a cabinet maker. Apprenticeship programs allow students to advance to difficult tasks as each skill is mastered. Many aspiring cabinet makers work as carpenter assistants while completing an apprenticeship program to acquire woodworking skills, tool usage, and construction techniques. Graduates of apprenticeship programs often gain licensing or certification to expand knowledge base and remain competitive in the industry.

A career diploma program offered through a trade or technical school as well as online colleges allows high school graduates to access one year programs to train as cabinet makers. Students enrolled in career diploma programs learn how to work with prints, specifications, and shop drawings as well as material selection, manufacturing, and assembling products. Courses like: cabinet making, communications skills, English, vocational math, introduction to college math, algebra, machinery and methods, materials and processes, wood finishing, tool and machine maintenance, construction and remodeling, drafting, cabinet making and millwork, workplace safety, cabinet drawling, wood finishing, and autoCAD for cabinet drawing allow students to gain classroom training and hands on experience. Students who complete a career diploma program may advance to a job in cabinet making or attain an associates degree.
An associates degree in construction and cabinet making technology allows students to gain skills necessary to become a cabinet maker. Courses in construction and cabinet making consist of: fundamentals of building construction, stationary and hand power tools, engineering graphics, house framing, introduction to woodworking, building codes, cabinetmaking, construction estimating, business math, mill working, computerized numerical control (CNC) router programming, technical drafting, carpentry, and structural elements. A two year degree focuses on the use of technology and computers in addition to the construction and installation of cabinets in residential and commercial settings. A clinical experience including tool and site work often accompanies class room training. Graduates of an associates degree program may advance to licensing or certification accreditation or gain employment as cabinet makers.

Licensing and certification offered through the Furniture Industry Training Organization (FITO) is a qualification designed to advance skills and career options for cabinet makers. The National Certificate in Furniture Making focuses on programming and operating computer controlled machinery to construct cabinets. Licensing and certification examinations allow individuals to demonstrate skills learned in classroom and clinical experiences. Exams entail an assessment of a cabinet makers finished product. Successful completion of licensing or certification often allows students to work as cabinet worker managers.

Cabinet workers who would like to pursue an advanced degree may continue studies in a construction management, engineering, or carpentry related field as the highest degree available in the field is an associates degree.

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