Cabinetmakers design, install or repair furniture (fixed and free-standing) using flat-panel, solid timber, or timber-based products primarily. Usually, before becoming a cabinet maker, you must have completed an apprenticeship program. This is mainly because most employers generally require a full year of apprenticeship. However, this is not the only way to become a certified cabinet maker. But before this, you need the right attitude and motivation to be successful.
Listed below are ways you can become a cabinet maker.
University Degree (Formal Education)
Although the term cabinet making seems restricted to simply making cabinets, it is not. It extends to making furniture and some other household materials. As a result, interested individuals need to learn about design, wood types, and the proper use of some computer tools.
There are some universities or community colleges that offer diploma courses and bachelor and associate degree courses in this profession. Some institutions even set up their students with apprenticeship opportunities upon the completion of their degrees. The students are subjected to a particular number of hours of classroom courses as required by the cabinet-making community. The classroom knowledge is complemented by practical work from internships or apprenticeships. Some students may even choose to go as far as to do their master’s after completing their first degree.
As an alternative to formal schooling, vocational and technical schools focus on technical courses like cabinet making. Unlike formal schools, such as universities and colleges, technical schools are more focused on the practical aspect of the profession. Here, students are being trained using a hands-on approach. Like with colleges and universities, they are also required to complete a particular number of hours of schooling. As stated earlier, the hours differ from state to state.
After completing the courses, the interested individual can choose to dive into the profession by taking the required certification exam or learning more by seeking a direct internship.
Transitioning From Carpentry
Although cabinet making is more advanced in design and more specialized, one of its main elements is carpentry. This means someone with experience in carpentry will find it quite easy to transition into cabinet making. These individuals may not necessarily need to take any new course since they already have experience in woodwork and carpentry. Some might have even taken professional carpentry courses. Typically, most carpenters are already familiar with designs, wood types, and other cabinet making themes.
However, some carpenters may choose to take short courses in cabinet making. This goes a long way to help them stay up to date with the latest cabinet-making techniques. Others may proceed directly to take the certification exam that will allow them to combine cabinet making with their carpentry profession.
Many licensed cabinet makers offer apprenticeship opportunities to interested individuals. These opportunities are like internship programs. If you’re interested in becoming a cabinet maker, you will have to reach out to a cabinet maker offering such a program. To become eligible, you may need to fulfil certain requirements. In most cases, the general condition for application is getting a high school diploma or a GED. You also have to be above the age of 18.
Once you start the program, you may have to work as an apprentice for up to three or four years. During the program, you will get to learn the practical aspect of cabinet making. You will also get familiar with the work ethics of a cabinet maker.
Once you’ve completed the number of years your state requires, you will need to take a certification exam. If you pass the exam, you will receive the license to work on your own. If not, you may have to continue the program till you’re considered good enough to work by yourself. Although this may seem like a long process, there is a silver lining. Apprentices can earn while they learn.
The apprenticeship route is considered the best way to become a cabinet maker. This is because you will not only learn how to make cabinets, you will also learn about the industry. You will also be exposed to vital information, resources, and deals.
No matter the path you choose to become a cabinet maker, the central focus is still on getting a certification. Before becoming a cabinet maker, one must have taken the certification exams, passed, and been issued a certificate. This allows for ease of practice and helps build trust.