Woodworking Classes in San Diego, CA with Program Summaries

Research woodworking classes in San Diego, CA, which currently has two schools offering programs within about 35 miles of the city center. Read an overview of courses, admission info and program requirements for these colleges to decide which one is right for you.

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San Diego Woodworking Schools

Individuals interested in developing woodworking skills, whether for personal or professional development, have limited options in San Diego; however, there are two schools in the area that provide training through furniture design programs. Learn about the courses and skills taught at these institutions, and then look over a table of statistics for additional details on the schools.

  • Palomar College, located roughly 37 miles north of central San Diego, has woodworking programs at the certificate and associate degree levels. Through the school's multiple program offerings, students can study furniture design, cabinetmaking, millwork and furniture making.
  • Located about 10 miles from the downtown area, the School of Art, Design and Art History at San Diego State University offers bachelor's and master's degree programs that include a concentration in furniture design/woodworking. Students have the option of purchasing their supplies from local vendors recommended by the school.

Palomar College

Palomar College offers more than 200 certificate and associate degree programs, along with personal enrichment courses. Additionally, the career, technical and extended education division at Palomar College offers various programs that provide students with career training. The trade and industry division offers certificate and degree programs for students interested in learning about woodworking and furniture making and design. According to the school, the woodworking curriculum is the most comprehensive in the nation.

Cabinetmaking and Furniture Design Certificate of Achievement

The curriculum for this program combines theory with practice, allowing students to put to use what they've learn in the classroom. Students start by learning the fundamentals of woodworking and advance to more complex projects as they better learn the trade. Some classes, such as machine tool joinery, hand joinery, custom residential cabinetry and veneering technology consist of two parts. Using software programs to develop industry standard plans and specifications, students obtain hands-on training by designing and building their own projects. By completion of the program, the student will have completed 44-54 units.

Cabinetmaking and Millwork Certificate of Achievement

The 27-unit program begins with instruction on tool usage/safety and basic woodworking techniques used in the cabinetmaking and millwork industry. Topics of study include machine tool setup and maintenance, finishing technology and repairs, business woodworking and custom residential cabinetry.

Furniture Making Certificate of Achievement

The furniture making program offers students a variety of courses from which to choose to complete the required 32-46 units. This program introduces students to jig/fixtures and routers, workbench design and production, decorative box making, production furniture and toy making, production carving and advanced wood finishing. They learn how to use Turbocad software to design cabinetry and furniture. This program is also available as an associate degree program.

Associate in Arts in Cabinetmaking and Furniture Design

The associate degree program requires the same program requirements as the certificate program, but students also complete general education requirements. At least 60 units must be completed to earn the degree, but at least 12 of the units must be completed at Palomar College. Students can take classes in finishing technology/touch up and repair, specialty and manufactured hardware, tables/prototype construction and production manufacturing, studio furniture design and plastic laminate fabrication techniques. A 3-part sequential carving class gives students experience using hand tools and testing various carving techniques.

Associate in Arts in Cabinetmaking and Millwork

In addition to general education courses, students must complete at least 27 units of major-related courses to earn this degree. A 2-part course in production cabinetmaking teaches students the principles and techniques used in building traditional and European cabinets. With the use of a personal computer and selected software, students design a plan for building cabinets. The business woodworking course provides students with information about opening and operating a woodworking business.

Associate in Arts in Furniture Making

Similar to the furniture making certificate program, this program teaches students basic and advanced techniques used in making furniture. Students can also complete a timber frame workshop that instructs them on joinery techniques. Course topics include basic and advanced classic American chair designs, planemaking, inlaying and veneering, cabinetmaking production and manufacturing, stringed instruments, architectural millwork, seating and carving techniques. The associate degree curriculum includes lectures, lab classes and general education courses.

San Diego State University

Founded in 1897, San Diego State University (SDSU) is the largest university in San Diego and the third largest in California. The Council for Interior Design Accreditation and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design have accredited SDSU's School of Art, Design and Art History. The school offers three areas of study: art, design and art history. The art division offers a graduate program in applied design with concentrations in furniture design and woodworking.

BA in Applied Arts and Sciences with an Applied Design Emphasis - Furniture Design/Woodworking Concentration

This 120-unit program offers students not only woodworking classes but also the education required for careers in furniture design and woodworking or art and design. As preparation for the major, students complete a series of lower and upper division courses. Courses specific to the furniture design and woodworking concentration include furniture design and woodworking I, II and II. Students entering this program must meet basic admission requirements, starting with passing math and English proficiency testing, along with a writing proficiency assessment or a writing course with at least a 'C'. General education requirements can be met by completing the 49-unit general education program.

MFA in Studio Arts with an Applied Design Emphasis - Furniture Design/Woodworking Concentration

This 3-year program prepares students for careers in the woodworking field. To earn the degree, the student must complete at least 60 units of study in their major, including seminar courses and electives. In addition to a thesis, students complete short-term group assignments to demonstrate their individuality, but also get a chance to enter local, regional and national competitions. Students learn through visiting artists, many of which are well-known furniture makers. The school also offers work study, graduate assistantships and teaching assistantships to eligible students.

Comparison of Schools

To further help you decide which school may best suit your education goals, review the following table. It has facts and figures on costs, campus settings, acceptance rates and more.

Palomar College San Diego State University
School Type 2-year, public 4-year, public
Total Enrollment (2011) 25,427* 30,541*
Campus Setting Small city Large city
Tuition & Fees (2011-2012) $1,052 in-state; $5,084 out-of-state* $6,578 in-state; $17,738 out-of-state undergraduates*; $7,844 in-state graduates; $16,772 out-of-state graduates*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Any Form of Aid (2010-2011) 49%* 60%*
Acceptance Rate (2011) N/A - Open admissions 30%*
Retention Rate (2011) 66% for full-time*89% for full-time*
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (2011) 26%* 66%*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

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    Online Programs

    • Bachelor
        • Bachelor in Construction Management
    • Associate
        • Associate in Construction Technology

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
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    • Montana campus Missoula
    Areas of study you may find at The University of Montana include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
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      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
      • Construction Management and Trades
        • Carpentry
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      • Heavy Equipment Maintenance
      • Precision Metal Working
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    • Mississippi campus Poplarville
    Areas of study you may find at Pearl River Community College include:
      • Non-Degree: Coursework, Diploma
      • Undergraduate: Associate
    • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
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      • Heating, Air Conditioning, Ventilation, and Refrigeration Maintenance
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    • Michigan campus Marquette
    Areas of study you may find at Northern Michigan University include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
      • Construction Management and Trades
        • Carpentry
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    • Alaska campuses Fairbanks, Juneau
    Areas of study you may find at University of Alaska include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
      • Construction Management and Trades
        • Carpentry
      • Electrical Repair and Maintenance
      • Vehicle Repair and Maintenance
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    • Wisconsin campus Milwaukee
    Areas of study you may find at Milwaukee Area Technical College include:
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate
    • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
      • Construction Management and Trades
        • Cabinetmaking
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    • California campus Stanford
    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
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    • Massachusetts campus Cambridge
    Areas of study you may find at Harvard University include:
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    • Pennsylvania campus Philadelphia
    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
      • Design and Applied Arts
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