Furniture Manufacturing Workers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Although a high school diploma is not essential for skilled workers in the furniture manufacturing industry, many employers prefer one. Most beginning helpers in the field are provided with on-the-job training, observing and assisting experienced workers and performing increasingly complex jobs with less and less supervision. However, employers expect even novices to have some knowledge of the trade.

You should, therefore, take a variety of courses directly related to furniture manufacturing, including woodworking, shop, blueprint reading, computer-aided design. Classes like family and consumer science will also enable you to practice such operations as cutting, measuring, and sewing. Mathematics classes, including algebra and geometry, are especially important in the industry. Finally, physical science, English, computer applications, and business courses will prove to be useful as well.

Postsecondary Training

There are no specific education requirements for furniture manufacturing employees. However, if you're interested in a particular area of the industry or you want to rise through the ranks, you should consider participating in either a specialized program or an apprenticeship. Many two-year and vocational schools offer programs in furniture manufacturing, with courses covering woodworking, drafting, production technology, furniture design, and computer science.

Cabinetmakers, furniture refinishers, upholsterers, and other specialists will benefit from apprenticeships. Programs arranged by the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration provide participants with not only on-the-job training but also a minimum of 144 hours a year of relevant classroom instruction.

If you're thinking about going into business for yourself, a broad range of courses is a must. In addition to industry-related subjects, you should take English, mathematics, computer applications (including computer-aided design and business management and accounting software), and psychology, as well as accounting, finance, management, and business.


The Woodwork Career Alliance of North America offers a national certificate program. Applicants must purchase an individual membership, be assessed on the organization's Skill Standards, and earn Skill Points and experience hours (any combination of classroom, lab, and shop or plant time such as internships and/or co-op work-study or paid work hours). There are five credential levels. The alliance also offers sawblade certificate for high school students. Contact the alliance for more information. 

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

No certification or licensing is available for furniture manufacturing workers.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Becoming a skilled cabinetmaker or bench carpenter typically takes three or more years; lower-skill jobs do not require previous experience.

Furniture manufacturing workers must enjoy working with their hands, as well as have manual dexterity, an eye for detail and accuracy, and a sense of proportion and balance. In addition, good eye-hand-finger coordination, an ability to follow directions, and strength for lifting are essential.

Cabinetmakers and furniture designers, in particular, need to be creative, as well as to be able to visualize three-dimensional objects based on written specifications, digital designs, and drawings. Assemblers must be able to perform repetitive work and get along well with others. Those who are self-employed need good written and oral communication skills, flexibility, management sense, self-discipline, and analytical skills.