How to Become a Certified Cabinet Maker
Planning on a career change or looking to enter the workforce? Cabinet Making is an in-demand, hands-on profession that can let you explore your creativity and become certified in a qualified trade. An excellent career option for existing builders, carpenters, and new tradespeople alike, Certificate III in Cabinet Making is an excellent pathway into a wide-range of career and project opportunities, meaning that no two professional journeys will look the same.
If this sounds good to you, read on. We’ve covered the basics of getting into cabinet making, the qualifications and training needed to become certified, and just some of the job opportunities that could be available to you on completion so you can customise your career.
What is a Cabinet Maker?
Cabinet Makers specialise in designing, building, and finishing built-in cabinets and custom cabinetry work. No longer limited to residential home projects alone, cabinet makers can be relied on to design and produce a huge range of tailored woodwork. From offices and commercial outfits to kitchens, coffins, and furniture making, the basic skills of cabinet making are the same but can be applicable in a wide range of fields.
A specialised trade that can qualify you to work as part of a team or consider going it alone, cabinet making is an excellent add-on qualification for existing builders or carpenters who want to widen their skillset or for new tradespeople at the beginning of their training.
What Skills Are Needed to Become a Cabinet Maker?
Before deciding which trade will be right for you, it’s important to know that every trade qualification requires a basic set of skills, understanding, and comprehension that can make your path to qualification easier–or more of a challenge. (Not that that is a bad thing!)
Before enrolling for a cabinet making course, you should consider some of the functional, basic skills and subjects required to complete your training and practical applications relied on in your everyday job. Among the most common academic and educational skills needed to successfully enter the Cabinet Making industry, you’ll need to be able to confidently:
- Navigate mathematical calculations
- Appreciate measuring, levelling, and working to an extremely high-level of accuracy
- Work with manual and power tools
- Consider weight and dimensions, material types, and joinery
Beyond that, some of the basic skills and interests you should have before starting a Cabinet Making course include:
- Enjoying woodwork–there’s a lot of that!
- Have good communication skills–a requirement for working with both clients and your team
- Have strong hand-eye coordination
- Have an eye for detail and design.
You’ll often be relied on to create the basic plans and sketches needed that will inform your project plan so enjoying basic illustration, drawing, or creativity projects is another bonus for Cabinet Makers.
How Do Cabinet Makers Find Work?
For new tradespeople entering the workforce, being concerned about your job hunting prospects before enrolling in a course is a fair concern. If you don’t have an existing employer or business that will be able to leverage your new qualification by adding on to your existing trade skills, you can consider looking for an employer who will take on a cabinet making apprentice.
From job searching sites to connections through Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) and Group Training Organisations (GTOs), most trades teams are used to working with apprentices and helping them complete their qualification. On completion, you may be able to join their organisation as a fully qualified tradesperson or start looking for other employment opportunities now that you’re registered. (Or even consider going it alone and being your own boss!)
Because most apprenticeships take 2-4 years to complete, make sure that you feel comfortable with your employment opportunity before taking the plunge. From guided hands-on training to working with your training organisation to help conduct and complete assessments, your employer will have a huge role in your path to become a qualified cabinet maker.
What Does a Cabinet Making Apprenticeship Include?
Most Australian Cabinet Making apprenticeships will be completed over 4 years and include a balance of on-site, hands-on training and off-the-job training, assessments, and study. Over the duration of your course, students will be required to cover the skills, practical application, and theoretical material needed to explore all aspects of woodworking, cabinet making, and working as a qualified tradesperson in Australia and can expect to cover:
- Operating woodworking machines
- How to safely use manual tools to cut, shape, and form
- Fittings, joinery, glue, and clamps
- Reinforcing and trimming joints
- Sanding, applying veneer, stain, and polish
- Repairing or refinishing existing wood
- Preparing drawings, blueprints, outline, and dimensions
- Interpreting plans
- Preparing work estimates, cost quotes, and contracts
- Applying for your trade qualification
- Working with a team
- Working with clients
- Effective communication, WHS policies, and understanding industry regulations
- Learning how to read and interpret contracts, policies, and employment offers
What Assessments Are Included in a Cabinet Making Apprenticeship?
During your apprenticeship, students may be assessed on the follow subjects and practical skills:
- Preparing a cutting list from plans and design specifications
- Safe set up, operation, and maintenance of:
- Drilling machines
- Sawing machines
- Static machines
- Automated Edge Banding machines
- CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) machines and processing centres
- Timber selection for various projects
- Project measurements, calculations, dimensions, and weights
- Produce computer-aided production drawings
- Produce hand-made production drawings
- Prepare surfaces for finishing, fabricate custom furniture, and install finished products
What Are the Career Outcomes for Qualified Cabinet Makers?
On successful completion of a Cabinet Making apprenticeship, the number of career opportunities and pathways are endless. From self-employment to working as part of a construction or building team, just some of the many career outcomes available to qualified cabinet makers include:
- Furniture Making
- Kitchen and Bathroom Design
- Office Outfits
- Antique Furniture Restoration
- Coffin Maker
Further still, some carpenters will opt to specialise in cabinet making as an opportunity to broaden their skill set and work on a wide range of jobs. Learn more about the differences between cabinet making and carpentry here.
Ask About the Skill360 Cabinet Making Course
Interested? If you want a hands-on job that balances creativity with physical outcomes, a career in cabinet making may be for you. To learn more about the course and the enrolment process, what a cabinet maker does, and how you can apply, reach out to the friendly Skill360 team today.