Programs in woodworking prepare people to lay out, shape, mark, bind, saw, carve, and sand wood. Students learn to put furniture and cabinets together and finish them. They also learn to design and repair wood products.
When it comes to decorating, do you like clean modern lines? Or ornate Victorian designs? Maybe something in the middle, timeless and traditional? Regardless of your tastes, it takes a skilled craftsperson to take your ideas and translate them into a finished product. Wood has been used for centuries for both construction and decorative purposes. In the case of cabinets and furniture, wood is used for both purposes at the same time. Woodworkers and cabinetmakers must be able to craft pieces that are strong and functional. However, the very best also know how to make pieces that are beautiful and pleasing to the eye.
In woodworking programs, you learn how to work with many types of wood and tools. You learn how to measure, mark, saw, carve, and sand. You learn how to operate table saws, power sanders, and hand tools such as hammers, clamps, and chisels. You also learn how to assess and repair damaged pieces. Depending on the program, you learn how to design and create custom furniture or cabinets. You also may learn how to apply stain, paint, and varnish to finished pieces. Furthermore, some programs focus on industrial woodworking. This means that you learn how to operate large machinery and how to process large pieces of wood.
Many private vocational schools and community colleges offer short programs in woodworking. About 30 community colleges also offer one-year certificate and two-year associate degree programs. Some high schools coordinate vocational programs with community colleges. This allows high school students to take woodworking courses before they graduate. In some cases, they are prepared for entry-level work as apprentices after they receive their high school diploma.
In addition, many schools offer combined apprenticeship-degree cabinet- and furniture-making programs. These programs typically take five years to complete. Students are awarded journeyman status as well as an associate degree.
With a degree or certificate in woodworking, you can work as a cabinetmaker, mill operator, or a carpenter. In most cases, you gain advanced woodworking skills while on-the-job.