How Do I Get a Cabinet Maker Apprenticeship?

Dan Cavallari

Cabinet makers work with wood to create various types of furniture; while the name implies they only make cabinets, cabinet makers can make any variety of pieces. In order to become a cabinet maker, one must first undergo a cabinet maker apprenticeship, which is essentially a training period during which a person will learn the skills and techniques necessary to be successful in the field. A good place to start looking for a cabinet maker apprenticeship is at the local woodworker's union, if one exists. Otherwise, take a look at course offerings at local community colleges.

Kitchen with hardwood cabinets.
Kitchen with hardwood cabinets.

Very often a community college will offer cabinet maker apprenticeship courses that will help you become a certified cabinet maker. The training is often spread out over a year or so, though in some cases it may take longer. Once the training is complete, it may be useful at this point to continue the cabinet maker apprenticeship in an unofficial capacity by working with a more experienced woodworker who can help you hone your skills. Otherwise, you can practice on your own until you feel confident enough in your skills to either open your own business or work for a woodworking company.

Cabinet maker apprentices must learn how to safely operate power tools, including miter saws.
Cabinet maker apprentices must learn how to safely operate power tools, including miter saws.

If a woodworkers or cabinet makers union exists in your area, consult with the union to get a cabinet maker apprenticeship. The union may recommend a particular cabinet maker apprenticeship course you can take, or the union itself may offer the course. Very often woodworkers who are members of the union will teach such apprenticeships, and there may be a fee associated with such training. You will usually need to enroll as a member of the union in order to be eligible for an apprenticeship.

Another option for a cabinet maker apprenticeship is approaching a local woodworker or cabinet maker who can act as your teacher. Woodworkers and cabinet makers may offer apprenticeships if they are in need of extra help on jobs, though in other cases, the cabinet makers may offer apprenticeships for which you must pay a fee. Be sure to research these courses carefully and, if possible, talk to other people who have undergone an apprenticeship with that particular woodworker. Before enrolling, be sure to tour the woodworker's facilities and ensure he or she has up-to-date tools and machinery at your disposal during the apprenticeship.

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