Do you enjoy crafting useful items out of wood? Do you like the idea of creating interesting wood designs that are also eye-catching? If so, then you might be interested in becoming a cabinetmaker or millworker.
Cabinetmakers and millworkers use hand tools and automated machines to design and build wood fixtures. Cabinetmakers make cabinets and related fixtures for offices, stores and homes. Millworkers build fixtures such as doors, molding and trim. These workers are comfortable using power saws, routers, planes and other sharp tools and machines. Skills with computers can also be useful to workers in this field since computer-operated machinery is becoming more prevalent. You should also be ready to consistently work with your hands and have knowledge of different wood products to work as a cabinetmaker or millworker.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected a six percent increase in job opportunities for woodworkers from 2008-2018, which is less than the average of all occupations (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that cabinetmakers made a median annual salary of $30,130 in 2010. Still, with experience, opportunities for advancement to positions such as supervisor or inspector are available. Some cabinetmakers and millworkers may eventually open their own woodworking shops.
Most woodworking employers prefer you to have completed high school. Courses in math, computers and drafting can be useful if you wish to become a millworker or cabinetmaker. Although college courses and degree programs are not normally required to become a cabinetmaker, you can learn woodworking skills and be prepared to work as a manager or supervisor through a degree program.
A variety of learning options are available, depending on what you wish to accomplish as a cabinetmaker or millworker. An associate's degree in cabinetmaking and millwork can teach you the necessary skills, like planning, tool safety and construction methods, needed to work in the construction or manufacturing sectors of the woodworking industry. Woodworking course options for this degree program may include measurements for woodworking, cabinet detailing and cabinet installation. Some cabinetmaking programs may include courses on working with materials other than wood as well, such as laminated plastic.
If you don't want to enroll in a fulltime degree program, some colleges offer a cabinetmaking systems technology certificate. A certificate program in cabinetmaking might include courses on millwork and shop management. Some technical colleges offer a technical diploma in cabinetmaking and millwork. A technical diploma in woodworking takes a year to complete and may offer courses in writing and communication skills in addition to the standard woodworking courses.