A career in cabinet making is ideal for a person who enjoys shaping wood and working with their hands. Cabinet makers work in both the residential and commercial industries, designing custom cabinets for family homes and businesses. Though most of the products used as furniture and in living areas are mass-produced, woodworkers such as cabinet makers are still hired regularly to create specialized and unique items that fit clients’ personal tastes and lifestyle.
Cabinet makers are primarily responsible for the design, construction and repair of cabinets. These woodworking professionals mainly work from detailed instructions to create, build and install cabinets in kitchens, dining areas, classrooms and offices. Cabinet makers also replace and restore cabinets that have been damaged by natural elements such as fire or water.
A college education is not required to start a career in cabinet making. However, the Cabinet Maker's Association recommends that applicants have at least three years of high school education and a solid grasp of English and math. Taking classes in woodworking and technical drawing are also useful. Apprentices undergo on-the-job training for at least two years to acquire woodworking skills and pursue certification. However, obtaining a college degree in majors such as furniture manufacturing, wood engineering and production management are helpful in preparing for supervisory, engineering and management positions.
A cabinet maker should be highly proficient with different work tools, wood-cutting equipment and machinery. Some of these skills include finish-sanding, staining and sealing wood cabinets. Professionals also exhibit creative skills and are able to interpret and develop cabinet designs and layouts. As a designer, cabinet makers should be flexible and ready to adapt designs based on customer requests and preferences. Other abilities that may be required for cabinet making professionals include business, computer and analytical skills.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the average wages for woodworkers were $13.93 per hour as of May 2008. Woodworkers in the lowest 10th percentile earned under $9.22 per hour. Woodworking professionals in the highest 10th percentile made more than $21.73 per hour.
According to Education-Portal.com, cabinet making jobs are expected to experience below average growth until 2012. The increased and widespread use of technology has lowered public demand for hand-crafted work. Though companies are more likely to hire employees who are computer savvy, cabinet makers who are expert woodworkers will have good job opportunities due to demand for unique cabinet designs.