Furniture making includes the design of custom-made pieces, as well as products rendered in manufacturing facilities. Most furniture professionals are also adept at woodworking and carpentry, upholstering, tanning and leathering, and other skilled trades. This is an ideal career choice for anyone who enjoys being creative and working with his/her hands, and many aspiring professionals learn the skills they need to succeed by enrolling in accredited online certificate programs in furniture making.
While the skill of furniture making is mostly learned through hands-on experience, students can also choose to enroll in a certification program. During the course of these programs, aspiring furniture makers will learn how to operate specialized equipment and hand tools, as well as other fundamental skills like sanding, staining, and sealing finished products. In order to launch a successful furniture making career, individuals be meticulously attentive to little details, adept at mathematics and mechanics, and — above all — extremely patient, as most people take years to master this time-honored craft.
Types of Furniture Making Certificates
Some employers will only hire job applicants who have earned online certificates in furniture making. Others may choose to earn a certificate in order to continue with their higher education and earn an advanced degree.
Generally, a high school diploma or equivalent is required for admission into a furniture making certificate program online. High school students who are interested in pursuing a career in this profession should take woodworking, metal shop, and other technical classes; since many certificate programs include an entrance exam focused on math, high school algebra and calculus classes are also encouraged. Other requirements typically include a completed application essay, letter of recommendation, and a transcript of the applicant’s ACT or SAT scores.
Most furniture making certificate programs online are offered through community colleges or trade schools. These programs teach basic skills related to woodworking, chair and table building, and shop maintenance. Other course subjects include:
- Shop safety
- Proper use of bandsaws, drill presses, lathes, and other hazardous shop equipment
- The properties and behavior of wood
- Design principles
- Veneering and finishing
- Computer-aided design (CAD) programs
What’s Next for Furniture Making Certificate Holders?
Those who complete an accredited online certificate program in furniture making can find work in cabinet shops, home improvement centers, interior design firms, or retail furniture stores. They may spend their days building new products, or refinishing and reupholstering old and used products. They may continue their education by obtaining an associate or bachelor’s degree, or choose to open their own shop after initially working for other store owners for a few years.
The majority of furniture makers find employment as cabinetmakers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Other careers include machine setters and operators, sawing machine setters and operators, and furniture finishers. The median hourly wage for all furniture makers was $13.47 in May of 2010. Cabinetmakers earned the highest median wage at $14.48 per hour, while furniture finishers earned $13.37 per hour, woodworking machine operators earned $12.75 per hour, and sawing machine setters and operators earned $12.59 per hour.
The job outlook is expected to be positive for furniture makers; the BLS projects 18% job growth in the industry between 2010 and 2020, which is slightly above the projected job growth for all occupations. This prediction is largely due to increased demand for domestic wood products and repair and renovation of current products. As the role of technology in woodworking gradually increases, graduates who understand computer-aided systems and specialize in custom designs will be at the head of the pack.