Cabinetmaking and Millwork Courses

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What is Cabinetmaking and Millwork?

Cabinetmaking and Millwork is a field of study focused on the knowledge and technical skills to fabricate wood and composite materials from raw material into a complete article.  To most, the difference between cabinetmaking and millwork is virtually indistinguishable; however, to professionals in the trade, the difference is immense.

In plain terms, cabinetmaking is the fabrication and creation of the cabinet while the millwork is the decorative trim and accents added to the cabinets.

The curriculum within the Cabinetmaking and Millwork degree program will often include understanding of: wood composition, composite composition, machine operations, materials preparation, machinery repair, design, and fabrication.

Top Degrees in Cabinetmaking & Millwork

Woodworking departments at colleges and universities across the country provide an array of programs in cabinetmaking and millwork.  Cabinets for residential and commercial use are ubiquitous and the need for trained professionals continues to expand year over year.  In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor estimates nearly 1 million trained individuals are in the specialty construction trade with an expected growth of 8% in the coming decade.

This job growth will translate to some 169,100 job openings in the reporting period providing opportunities for growth and job stability for experienced, educated professionals.  In addition to cabinetmaking and millwork degrees, students seeking programs in a woodworking department may also be interested in carving technology, woodworking skills technology, veneering technology, case furniture construction, lathe turning, guitar making, table manufacturing, or chair manufacturing.

An overview of certificate programs and degree programs in cabinetmaking include the following programs.

Certificate Programs in Cabinetmaking & Millwork

A certificate program in cabinetmaking and millwork is a short, focused program.  Certificates can last from a few weeks to a few months depending on the scope of the class.  Certificate programs provide students with the essentials to understand foundational elements in the trade along with hands-on learning opportunities in a shop or classroom.

Some students take the class to add skills to an existing hobby while others utilize certificate programs to gain trade-specific knowledge to begin a career in the field.  For those seeking employment in the field of fabrication and manufacturing, a certificate is an academic vehicle to help find an entry-level position in the field.

Associate Degrees in Cabinetmaking & Millwork

An associate degree in cabinetmaking and millwork is a 2-year program for full-time students.  Degrees at this level are conferred as an Associate of Science (AS).  Associate degrees meld liberal arts education with core classes to help students think more holistically about the world around them.  General education classes include courses such as communications, history, philosophy, psychology, and sociology.

Core classes found in a cabinetmaking and millwork course will vary by school and tools available in the shop.  Examples of classes may include: fundamentals of woodworking, machine woodworking, business management, materials management, logistics, plastic laminate techniques, residential cabinetry, architectural millwork, cabinet layout design, machine tool set-up, finish work, touch-up, and repair.

Employment Information & Millwork Specializations

Certificate programs and degrees in millworking set students up for various woodworking trades.  From finish work to rough carpentry, woodworking can take various forms for those that are formally trained.  Students seeking to use their degree outside of millwork, can consider skills learned in school for other vocations.  Samples of careers include: carpentry, general contracting, CNC machining, computer programming, CAD programming, ironworking, machining, tool making, operations manager, and millwright.

Cabinetry Job Growth & Career Outlook

Forecasted job growth appears to be steadily increasing along with the general economy.  With the trades and construction sectors bumping along, the median average for all jobs is mirroring cabinetmakers.  Alternatively, similar trade careers for machinists are set to rise 6% and a 7% increase in jobs for carpenters in the coming decade.  These two sectors alone will add nearly 200,000 jobs to our economy in the next ten years.  Meanwhile, employment growth for cabinetmakers and millwork trades will add nearly twenty-five thousand jobs.

Resources for Cabinetmakers & Millwork

  • Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association (KCMA)
  • World Millwork Alliance (WMA)
  • American Hardwood Association (AHA)
  • Moulding and Millwork Producers Association (MMPA)
  • Cabinetmakers Association (CMA)

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Career Summary: Cabinetmaking millwork Major




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