Online Education Programs for Aspiring Cabinet Makers: Program Info

Aspiring cabinet makers can pursue diploma and associate's degree programs; however, online or hybrid programs are very rare. Diploma programs are sometimes offered entirely online, and associate's degree programs are available in either carpentry or building construction in a hybrid format.

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Essential Information

Online training programs for cabinet makers are rare, but individuals interested in learning this profession can find a few programs at the diploma and associate's degree level. Diplomas can be earned totally through online study, while associate's degree programs usually require a combination of online and on-campus classes.

Students watch lessons online and communicate with instructors and classmates through e-mail, message boards or chat functions. In addition to an up-to-date computer and good Internet connection, students need a full complement of woodworking tools, which are sometimes included in the cost of tuition.

A diploma program usually consists of individual lessons that students complete at their own pace. They watch the lesson, complete an assignment and take an exam before moving on to the next task. In these programs, students explore basic woodworking techniques such as joinery and finishing and learn to use and care for their tools.

In a hybrid associate's degree program in cabinet making, students usually are able to take their general education courses online, but must complete the hands-on cabinet making training at the school. They learn to handle woodworking tools and complete cabinet making projects.


Overview of an Online Cabinet Maker Diploma Program

Although rarely offered online, diploma programs in cabinet making focus on various woodworking specialty topics, including processing, materials, finishing and marketing.

The programs educate learners by providing them with step-by-step instructions to craft actual projects. There are no prerequisites for entry. Students are required to furnish their own tools and supplies.

Program Information and Requirements

Students enroll in these programs online, and are provided a student ID for access to online materials. Specific tools are required for participation, such as a C-clamp, tape measure, hammer, chisel set, dovetail saw, combination square, and T-bevel, as well as wood, paint and other materials. Exams are also offered online, and students must meet passing scores before continuing to the next lesson. The eight lessons are accessed at the participant's pace and convenience, and can take anywhere from a few months to two years to complete.

To attend these programs, students need access to a personal computer and Internet service. E-mail is normally used for communication and questions, and some schools also offer a phone number to call during specific hours of operation.

List of Common Online Courses

Courses in these online diploma programs focus on fine woodworking design and development. Typical topics also include layout, finishing and fasteners. Some common classes are outlined below:

Fine Woodworking Design Course

This class explores how wood is processed and overall wood specialties. Students also learn design techniques, and the materials used in different styles of cabinetry and furniture.

Joinery and Fastener Course

Students learn theory and procedures used in joinery and fastener identification. Different applications are studied and how to use the best method or fastener. The class also covers how to make a mortise and tenon joint, along with biscuit joints and dovetails.

Finishing and Refinishing Course

This class teaches students how to choose a finish and technique for specific wood products and projects. Some of the topics include preparing wood for application of a finish, including sanding, scraping, degreasing, de-waxing and stripping. Finishes composed of oil, wax, paint, lacquer or varnish (in brushable, wipe-on and sprayable forms) and wax polishes are also examined.

Career Information for Graduates

Cabinetmakers and bench carpenters earned a median annual wage of $14.22 per hour in May of 2009, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Also reported by the BLS, the highest level of employment in the field was in household and institutional furniture and kitchen cabinet manufacturing (www.bls.gov).


Overview of an Online Cabinet Maker Associate's Degree Program

Online associate's degree programs are rarely offered; however, hybrid programs are available in carpentry or building construction. Students learn estimation, terminology, practices, designs and production techniques used in cabinet making. Typically, general education courses and some didactic classes are offered online. Students may need specific tools to participate in the hands-on portions of the program. Graduates are awarded an Associate of Applied Science degree.

Program Information and Requirements

These programs take approximately two years to complete, depending on participation in a summer term of classes. The first year focuses on fundamentals and introductory carpentry, construction and related subject material. Practical hands-on education is completed in on-site labs or garages at the school. Safety and proper use of all tools in cabinetry is learned in the hands-on training. Total course credit requirements for graduation range from 80-110 credits.

Any online coursework offered is accessed via a personal computer at any location. Most of the courses are delivered in person, but students should check for any specific hardware or software requirements if taking general education courses online.

List of Common Online Courses

Courses in these online programs focus on skills in building construction, cabinetry, and project management, as well as applicable building codes and laws. General education courses in algebra, geometry, trigonometry, communications, speech, computers, humanities and social sciences are also typically required. Some general education classes offered online at many schools are listed below.

Algebra Course

This course covers beginning algebra concepts and factoring. Topics of study include expressions, real numbers, equations, inequalities, graphing, polynomials and signed number operations.

Professional and Business Communications Course

Students develop oral and written communication skills used in business with co-workers and customers. Topics of study include organizational theory, communication history, teamwork, conflict management and listening skills.

Speech Course

This class teaches students how to research, write and deliver an effective speech. Students study rhetorical techniques, delivery skills and preparation styles used in expository, motivational and persuasive speeches.

Career Information for Graduates

The BLS reported that in 2008 woodworkers held approximately 323,300 jobs. Of those jobs, 76% were in manufacturing, while 12% belonged to self-employed workers. The BLS also reported that employment in the field was expected to grow by six percent from 2008-2018.

Continuing Education and Training Information

While cabinet makers are mainly trained on the job, additional education is valuable for those aspiring to advance in carpentry. Additional educational degrees are available in the areas of wood technology, engineering, manufacturing and production. Training in areas such as computer aided drafting (CAD) is also valuable in designing cabinetry and other wood products.

In addition, the Association of Woodworking and Furnishings Suppliers (AWFS) offers educational resources for those who want further training in cabinet making. Seminars, workshops, demonstrations and online training information are some of the options available.

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