Cabinet and Furniture Making Careers

The highly skilled graduates of the Cabinet and Furniture Making program have a wide a variety of careers, from running their independent custom shops or companies to working for larger furniture manufacturers, real estate developers, contractors and designers.

A sample of jobs held by NBSS graduates:

  • Furniture conservator at a national museum
  • Furniture and prototype maker for high-end furniture manufacturer
  • Owner, furniture design and building shop
  • Owner, furniture developer for furniture manufacturers, interior designers and designer showrooms,
  • Manager, residential renovations for top designers and architects
  • Construction manager for 9000 sqft apartment building
  • Lead carpenter, site superintendent, senior project manager for a general contractor
  • Antique furniture restoration and furniture building, self-employed
  • Restoration carpenter
  • Woodworking teacher
  • Manager of cabinet shop for a custom home builder
  • Installer for high-end kitchens for a custom designer
  • Builder of custom alter furniture for churches
  • Restoration specialist of “Period Americana”
  • Architectural woodwork and commission furniture, self-employed
  • Boat builder and yacht interior joiner
  • Board drafter for period residential furniture
  • Cabinet Department Supervisor
  • Prototype Maker for commercial and residential clients
  • Design Associate for very high-end interior designer
  • Manager of Product Engineering

Job prospects for cabinet and furniture makers

Below we try to provide a very general guide to wages, salaries and industry growth for cabinet and furniture makers. It is difficult, however, because the job classifications defined by the US Department of Labor (DOL) do not match the highly skilled graduates of NBSS.

The closest job classification the DOL uses is “Woodworking”, which includes mass production/unskilled workers and subcategories like model makers and patternmakers; woodworking machine setters, operators, and tenders; furniture finishers; and cabinetmakers and bench carpenters.

Please use information below as a very general overview of the woodworking industry.

Employment

The information below is from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Woodworkers held about 323,300 jobs in 2008.
  • 12% of these were self-employed woodworkers
  • 76% of woodworkers were employed in manufacturing
  • 39% worked in establishments manufacturing furniture and related products
  • 32% worked in wood product manufacturing, producing a variety of raw, intermediate, and finished woodstock.

Job Growth

Employment of woodworkers is expected to grow by 6% during the 2008-18 decade, and job prospects will be excellent for highly qualified workers. Prospects should be excellent for highly qualified workers. In general, opportunities for more highly skilled woodworkers will be better than for woodworkers with specialties susceptible to automation and competition from imported wood products.

For more detailed information, visit www.bls.gov/oco/ocos237.htm
Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Woodworking
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor

Salaries and Wages

Specific salaries are determined by many factors including education, training, years and type of experience, economic conditions, where you live, whether you work for yourself or a company, etc. Below is a very general guide to help you understand the average salary among cabinet and furniture makers as represented on Payscale.com in January 2011.

Cabinet Maker or Furniture Maker with 5 years experience, living in Massachusetts. The following data is from http://www.payscale.com/.

  Annual Salary, average
 Hourly Wage, average
 Working for a company  $41,713 $20.77
 Self-employed $39,852 $25.58
 For additional information, visit http://www.payscale.com/.