If you have a knack for woodworking and are considering a career in a related field, you may want to pursue an associate's degree in cabinet making. You can earn your degree at many four-year colleges, universities, community colleges, and trade schools or even through online degree programs.
Associate Program Cabinet Making Courses
A two-year associate's degree program typically focuses on the use of technology and computers in cabinet making in addition to the basics of construction and installation of cabinets in residential and commercial settings. Field experience using tools and working at job sites frequently accompanies classroom training.
To earn an associate's degree, you must successfully complete coursework directly related to the craft of cabinet making. Graduates may advance to the licensing or certification level or immediately apply for entry-level cabinet maker positions.
The curriculum normally includes classes such as:
- Fundamentals of Building Construction
- Stationary and Hand Power Tools
- Engineering Graphics
- House Framing
- Introduction to Woodworking
- Building Codes
- Cabinet Making Basics
- Construction Estimating
- Business Math
- Mill Working
- Computerized Numerical Control (CNC) Router Programming
- Technical Drafting
- Carpentry Basics
- Structural Elements
Before entering an associate's program for cabinet making, you can prepare by taking relevant high school courses, including woodworking, algebra, and business. If you have access to a local vocational or trade school, sign up for classes in computer operations, drafting, and tool safety.
Associate Degree Alternatives
Some people consider a cabinet making apprenticeship or career diploma program before earning their associate's degree. The alternatives offer scheduling flexibility and may be more cost-effective.
An apprenticeship combines hands-on career experience with classroom education and usually takes five to seven years to complete. You'll master individual skills and and move on to other challenges, often as part of a program where you work alongside skilled professionals to learn construction procedures, hand and power tool skills, and woodworking techniques.
Career Diploma Programs
Online colleges as well as many trade and technical schools offer one-year programs in cabinet making, which you can complete before earning an associate's or bachelor's degree. The courses vary by school but may include:
- Reading Specifications and Drawings
- Material Selection
- Product Assembly and Manufacturing
- Vocational Math and Algebra
- Machinery and Methods
- Wood Finishing Techniques
- Machine and Tool Maintenance
- New Construction and Remodeling
- Millwork and Cabinet Making
- AutoCAD Techniques
Licensing and Certification
Cabinet makers can obtain professional licenses and certifications that improve career opportunities and earning potential. Certifications are frequently required for those seeking positions in cabinet making management. If you're interested in seeking licensing or becoming certified, inquire to the faculty at your chosen degree program or talk with professional cabinet makers and cabinet making companies, who can provide information on local and national resources.
Before you enroll in an associate's degree program for cabinet making, be sure you know exactly what related jobs entail.
Cabinet makers are woodworkers who specialize in designing and building cabinets. They can work for a cabinet making company or independently contract with clients to build custom pieces. The job requires exemplary hand and machine operation skills and the ability to transform a simple piece of wood into a practical and aesthetically appealing cupboard or dresser. Cabinet makers have to be physically fit to be able to lift and transport heavy pieces of wood and hardware, and they need high levels of endurance. Attention to detail is required to read and interpret detailed diagrams and the accompanying instructions, and business savvy also benefits people on the job.
Like most artisans, cabinet makers enjoy the fulfillment of creating unique and aesthetically pleasing objects from raw materials. Aside from providing an artistic outlet and building confidence, a career in cabinet making can be monetarily rewarding if you design and build distinctive pieces to customer specifications or construct and sell your own unique creations.