Furniture Maker: Diploma Program Overview
Individuals who want to become furniture makers can complete a short-term program in furniture making that can provide them with entry-level skills. Diploma programs aren't readily available, but individuals can find certificate programs that take about a year to complete.
Furniture Making Certificate
A certificate program can teach students about the skills, techniques, equipment and theories essential to furniture making. Students usually work on various woodworking projects like cabinets, drawers and doors. They learn to safely use tools, such as planers, jointers, bandsaws, drill presses, table saws and lathes. Additionally, students can gain an understanding of the properties and behaviors of wood, as well as design principles that take those qualities into consideration.
Some programs might require that applicants have a minimum aptitude for math. Students also might have to pass math entrance exams that show they have an acceptable level of knowledge in the subject.
The skills-based curriculum generally includes courses in math, blueprint reading, computer-aided design and hands-on woodworking. Topics studied might include:
- Machine woodworking
- Hand joinery
- Furniture design
- Prototype construction
- Finishing techniques
- Wood bending
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
In 2008, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that woodworkers held about 323,300 jobs (www.bls.gov). Furniture makers were counted by the BLS in the category of other woodworkers. The agency reported that other woodworkers could expect to see employment growth of three percent between 2008 and 2018. The mean annual wage for all other woodworkers was $27,910 as of 2010.
Continuing Education Information
According to the BLS, a furniture maker's continuing education often takes place informally on the job. Individuals also might consider earning an associate's degree in woodworking or furniture making, which usually takes about two years to complete. The associate's degree curriculum might include all of the woodworking courses required by a certificate program, plus general education requirements. Individuals also might complete a program in mill working or cabinetmaking.
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