Career Profile: Cabinet Maker

Career Profile: Cabinet Maker

by Erin Kelly
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com


A cabinet maker has the ability and skills to build furniture, re-finish furniture, and design furniture of all kinds. Say your mom wants to re-design her kitchen cupboards; a cabinet maker will work with her on a design, and then install it for her. To be a cabinet maker, it is as important to be creative as it is handy with power tools and blue-prints. A cabinet maker may work for a corporate company, or as a contractor, or both. Furniture is something that is always needed, and people love to have stylish, attractive things – a cabinet maker can create these things. Mainly, a cabinet maker works with different types of wood. However, they may work with different kinds of plastic and synthetic materials. As our forests grow smaller, people are starting to use more man-made materials in order to “cut back” on deforestation.

Training and Education:

If you want to be a cabinet maker, you should enjoy working with your hands and not be afraid to use machines and power tools. You must also have the ability to read blue-prints and technical drawings. It is important to have decent math skills in order to calculate measurements, as well. You will also need to know how to operate and read CNC machines (Computer Numerical Control machines).[1] Generally, you can attend a 1-2 year college course where you will learn furniture design and construction, carving, elements of design, cabinet making and finishing. Employers mostly want to see that you have your high school diploma, but having extra education is recommended. It is also common to obtain the skills needed to be a cabinet maker by entering into an apprenticeship program. In an apprenticeship, you will most likely be making money at the same time you are learning the trade.

Hours and General Duties:

As a cabinet maker, your tasks may include[2]:

  • Estimating jobs costs and material requirements
  • Performing on-site repairs and cabinet adjustments
  • Working with clients on designs
  • Cleaning and maintaining CNC machines
  • Assembling and installing cabinets
  • Reading and interpreting documents and measurements, making sure they match with customer requests
  • Match materials for colour, grain, texture

As a cabinet maker, you can work 9-5 hours for a corporate company, or set your own hours as a contractor, depending on your client’s requests. You may also work in a factory setting where you may have to take part in shift work at night, and during the day.

Salary and Wages:

A cabinet maker earns an average wage of $19.77 per hour. Your rate can go up depending on your skills, experience and education. There is always room to grow in this trade. You can also overlap your skills with training to become a master carpenter. The national hourly rate for a cabinet maker can range from $13.32 to $29.00. The national cabinet maker salary may range from $27,972 – $62,701.[3]

If you like working with your hands, being creative and working with people, this may be a career option for you. It is a hands on job mixed with coordinating, planning and design-the best of all worlds! Check out your local and community colleges and get started!


[1] http://www.jobguide.thegoodguides.com.au/occupation/Cabinetmaker

[2] http://www.jobguide.thegoodguides.com.au/occupation/Cabinetmaker

[3] http://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Cabinet_Maker/Hourly_Rate

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