How to Become a Cabinet Maker

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Cabinet Maker Key Stats
Avg. Salary / year $32,120
Avg. Pay / hour $15.44
Education 0-1 Year
Job Outlook 8%

Cabinet Makers are responsible for the production and repair of wooden cabinets and other wooden furniture.

Although potential cabinet makers should have an innate ability to work well with their hands, it is not the only skill employers look for when hiring for this position.

Cabinet Makers are required to view and analyze blueprints or drawings of furniture before they get started on their work.

They must also have some basic Mathematics skills and experience applying those concepts because part of their job is to measure lumber and make sure the pieces will fit well with one another.

Candidates should also be trained on safety protocol and learn how to use the sophisticated equipment that is used to create wooden cabinets.

Cabinet Makers use more than just their hands; they use a variety of skills that help them construct beautifully designed fixtures for people’s homes.

Cabinet makers should have a good eye for selecting timber and the different varieties that exist, have good hand eye coordination, they must be able to visualize the finished product and be able to create work that is meticulous with little or no error.

People who want to become a Cabinet Maker should have a combination of natural talent as well as some training in order to be a competitive candidate.

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Education Requirements to Become a Cabinet Maker

There are a few things people who want to become a Cabinet Maker should accomplish before pursuing a career in this field.

Candidates should participate in a training program in order to gain the necessary skills and educational background to be a competitive jobseeker.

In order to become a Cabinet Maker, candidates should look into joining a training program at an accredited community college, vocational school or a trade school that offers the curriculum.

In addition, candidates can also look into joining an apprenticeship which provides participants with on the job training.

If a student opts for a traditional educational route, they have the option to choose from either a certification or an Associate’s Degree program.

Acquiring an Associate’s Degree takes an average of two years, while certification would take about a year to accomplish.

Throughout a program, students will learn a variety of skills that will help them become successful in their field.

They will learn cabinet design and construction and proper use of power tools.

Programs will teach students how to cut and shape wood to specific measurements and training on how to finish the woodwork to prepare it for the marketplace.

Cabinet Maker Job Description

Cabinet Makers are responsible for a variety of duties that result in a finished wooden product.

These professionals are required to handle heavy equipment and materials in order to perform their duties.

Cabinet Makers may work in an environment that is highly noisy and dusty due to the sawing of wood.

Employees must take precautions to protect their health and must wear earplugs, goggles or special gloves in order to handle equipment and material.

The following lists are typical job duties and necessary skills a proficient Cabinet Maker needs in order to find employment in the industry.

  • Follow provided specifications and design to build cabinets
  • Set up equipment and necessary tools to build cabinets
  • Design customized cabinets with specific measurements
  • Saw and shape wood according to measurements and specifications
  • Connect and fasten wooden pieces to from furniture
  • Provide finish touches such as sanding, staining, sealing, varnishing or lacquering
  • Use advanced equipment, power tools and other technology to build cabinets
  • Use safety precautions when using equipment
  • Install cabinets assuring specifications have been met

The majority of Cabinet Makers work in manufacturing firms producing cabinets in large quantities.

Cabinet Makers can work for customs shops but these types employers are typically found in highly populated areas.

Cabinet Maker Salary and Career Path

Cabinet Makers make hourly wages with the national median wage at approximately $14 per hour as of 2008.

The salary range is approximately $9 to $22 per hour.

The growth for this sector greatly depends on how well the economy is doing and thus affects job growth.

Cabinet Maker positions in this industry are expected to grow at a slower rate than average.

However, the prospects for highly trained individuals look excellent.

BLSThe below information is based on the 2021 BLS national averages.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary


Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
New Hampshire$44,790
New Jersey$48,380
New Mexico$36,100
New York$44,870
North Carolina$35,300
North Dakota$41,340
Rhode Island$45,180
South Carolina$38,440
South Dakota$34,310
West Virginia$33,590
Puerto Rico$21,340

The top earning state in the field is Massachusetts, where the average salary is $53,060.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

Massachusetts - $53,060
Hawaii - $52,660
Connecticut - $49,080
New Jersey - $48,380
Rhode Island - $45,180
* Salary information based on the May 2021 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Cabinetmakers and Bench Carpenters, OCC Code 51-7011, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a cabinet maker do?

Cabinet makers create built-in cabinets and other furniture pieces according to customer’s specifications.

They work with many different tools, such as saw tables, drum sanders, laminate trimmers, jigsaws, and dust extraction systems.

Before starting a project the cabinet maker prepares a list of materials and tools that are needed for the project and calculate cost estimates- so having good math skills is very important in this profession.

Cabinet makers also need attention to detail, dexterity, creativity, and good technical skills.

They can work for a furniture manufacturer or be self-employed.

What is the annual salary of a cabinet maker?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for cabinet makers and bench carpenters was $34,740.

Salaries vary depending on a wide range of factors and some cabinet makers make less than $25,000 while others make more than $50,000 a year.

How much does it cost to become a cabinet maker?

Cabinet makers typically learn this trade through an apprenticeship in cabinetmaking or bench carpentry.

Most apprenticeship programs require candidates to hold a high school diploma or GED and be at least 18 years old.

These programs typically include at least 2000 hours of on-the-job training and 144 hours of classroom training per year; the exact program structure depends on the state.

After finishing the apprenticeship you are ready to take the journeyman exam.

Another way of learning the skills needed to join this profession is through a technical school.

These programs can typically be completed in less than 1 year and cost less than $20,000.

Tuition costs and other expenses vary depending on the school you choose and the program itself.

After graduating from a technical school, you may also need additional work experience before being ready to sit for the national exam.

What is the demand for cabinet makers?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for carpenters, in general, is expected to grow 8 percent from 2018 to 2028.

However, job opportunities for cabinet makers are sensitive to the local economy and can vary year by year and region by region.

How long does it take to become a cabinet maker?

The answer to this question depends on the educational path you choose to pursue.

One way of learning cabinetmaking is through an apprenticeship which includes around 2000 hours of hands-on on-the-job training and classroom instruction each year.

Apprenticeships in this field are typically 4 years long.

You can also learn this trade through a post-secondary program offered by a technical school; these programs are designed to include both classroom instruction and hands-on training and can be completed in less than 1 year.

After finishing the technical school you will have to gain some work experience before being eligible to sit for the journeyman exam.

After passing your state exam you are ready to work as a journey-level cabinetmaker.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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