Woodworker: What Is It and How to Become

Woodworker: What Is It and How to Become

When it comes to woodworking, there’s no denying the valuable skills and craftsmanship that woodworkers bring to the table. Whether they are joiners, carpenters, or furniture makers, woodworkers play an important role in creating beautiful and functional pieces from wood.

Although the job may not be perceived as glamorous as some other careers, woodworkers find satisfaction in working with their hands and seeing the end result of their labor. From designing and building custom cabinetry to crafting intricate doors, woodworkers are the backbone of the woodworking industry.

Education and training are important for anyone looking to pursue a career in woodworking. While some woodworkers learn the basics through local courses or apprenticeships, others invest in higher education to cover everything from math and computerized machinery to design and project management. Regardless of the path taken, becoming a skilled woodworker takes time and dedication.

Woodworkers can find job opportunities in a variety of settings, from small woodworking shops to large manufacturing facilities. Some may choose to work independently as artists or furniture makers, while others may join larger teams to collaborate on larger-scale projects.

One of the most valuable aspects of being a woodworker is the ability to work with your hands and create something tangible. In a world where so much is done on a computer or through technology, woodworking allows someone to step back and use traditional tools like hand planes, chisels, and a workbench to bring a piece of wood to life.

For more information on woodworking career paths, job outlook, and education opportunities, be sure to check out the links below for a comprehensive reference.

Woodworking Career Path

To get started in the woodworking industry, you’ll need to learn the fundamentals of working with wood. This includes understanding how to use tools like saws, drills, and sanders, as well as learning about different types of wood and how they can be used in various projects.

Woodworking doesn’t just involve working with wood in its natural form. It also requires skills in design, measurement, and math, as woodworkers often have to make precise calculations and measurements to ensure that their projects are both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

While some woodworkers specialize in specific areas, such as cabinetry or furniture making, many others work on a wide range of projects. This can include everything from crafting doors and topcoats to installing cabinets and helping with the construction of larger structures.

Woodworking careers offer competitive salaries, with the average woodworker earning around $40,000 per year. However, your salary can increase significantly with experience and additional training and qualifications. Woodworkers who are skilled in areas such as design, management, or marketing may also earn higher salaries.

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Education is an important aspect of a woodworking career. While you can learn the basics of woodworking from local classes or online tutorials, a formal apprenticeship or training program can provide you with a more comprehensive education. These programs cover everything from basic woodworking skills to advanced techniques and can help you develop the skills necessary to excel in the industry.

Woodworking is not just a job, but a craft that requires creativity and attention to detail. Many woodworkers consider themselves artists, as they are able to transform a simple piece of wood into a beautiful and functional object.

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in woodworking, there are a variety of career paths you can take. Some woodworkers choose to work for themselves, building their own furniture or cabinetry and selling it directly to customers. Others may choose to work for larger woodworking companies or joiners, where they can work on projects for clients or assist in the production of larger-scale pieces.

Woodworkers Salary

Although the salary for woodworkers can vary greatly depending on experience and location, there are some basics you should know about the job outlook and potential earnings. Woodworkers, or joiners, are responsible for making and installing finished woodwork. They work with a variety of tools, from hand tools like a chisel or drill, to larger machines used to shape and cut wood.

Education and Training

To become a woodworker, you don’t necessarily need a formal education. Many woodworkers learn on the job or through apprenticeships. However, having some formal training can help you stand out from other applicants and gain a higher level of expertise. There are trade schools and community colleges that offer programs in woodworking, cabinetry, and furniture making.

Woodworkers can also benefit from continuing education courses and workshops to keep up with new techniques and technology.

Job Outlook and Salary

The job outlook for woodworkers is similar to that of other skilled trades. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of woodworkers is expected to decline by 1 percent from 2019 to 2029 due to automation and increased productivity. However, there will always be a need for experienced woodworkers to handle custom projects and fix problems that arise.

The median annual wage for woodworkers was $32,690 in May 2020, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $51,020. The salary can vary depending on factors such as location, level of experience, and the type of work being done.

Career Path

For those willing to invest time and effort in their woodworking career, there are plenty of opportunities for advancement. Experienced woodworkers can move into management positions, become self-employed, or even start their own woodworking business. Some may also choose to specialize in areas such as cabinetry, furniture making, or wood carving.

Woodworkers can also choose to work for builders, designers, or artists who create custom woodwork. They may be responsible for installing doors, cabinets, and other finished woodwork in homes and commercial buildings.

Woodworking is a fulfilling career that allows you to work with your hands and create something tangible. If you have a passion for woodwork and are willing to put in the time and effort, a career as a woodworker can be both financially rewarding and creatively fulfilling.

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So, if you want to look for a career path that doesn’t involve sitting behind a desk all day, consider becoming a woodworker. With the right skills and determination, you can turn your passion for woodworking into a successful and lucrative career.

Job Outlook for Woodworkers

Today, many woodworkers work in small workshops or factories where they use machinery to help them with their work. Although there are still some traditional handmaking techniques involved, woodworking has become more computerized and automated. This means that woodworkers need to be willing to invest time and effort in learning new skills and keeping up with advancements in technology.

To become a professional woodworker, it is important to have a good understanding of the basics. Woodworkers should have knowledge of math, be able to take accurate dimensions, and know how to use tools and machinery effectively. They should also have a good sense of design and be able to visualize the finished product.

Job Opportunities

Woodworkers can find employment in a variety of industries. They may work for small businesses or larger companies involved in construction, carpentry, cabinetry, or furniture making. Some woodworkers may even start their own businesses and work independently as entrepreneurs. There are also opportunities for woodworkers to work in specialized fields, such as restoration or sculpture, where their skills and craftsmanship are highly valued.

Woodworkers can also explore careers in management or teaching. They can become shop supervisors or project managers, overseeing the work of other woodworkers and ensuring that projects are completed on time and within budget. Woodworkers who have gained a lot of experience and expertise in their craft may also choose to teach others, either through apprenticeships or by offering classes and workshops in their own studios.

Job Outlook and Salary

The job outlook for woodworkers is positive, with a projected growth rate of 1% from 2019 to 2029, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Although this growth rate is below the average for all occupations, there will still be job opportunities for those with the right skills and experience.

In terms of salary, the median annual wage for woodworkers was $32,690 in May 2020. However, it is important to note that the salary can vary depending on factors such as experience, location, and type of work. Highly skilled and experienced woodworkers who work on unique and intricate projects can command higher salaries.

SkillsCareer PathEducationJob OutlookSalary
Carpentry skillsApprenticeship or formal trainingHigh school diploma or equivalentPromisingMedian annual wage of $32,690
Problem-solvingGain experience through practiceAdditional training and certificationsPositive growth rate of 1%Varies depending on factors
Attention to detailStart own business or work for othersContinued learning and skill developmentOpportunities in various industriesHigher salaries for experienced professionals

Education and Training for Woodworkers

Woodworking courses are available at various levels, from small workshops to full-time programs at trade schools or community colleges. These courses teach everything from the basics of woodworking to advanced techniques and management skills. They cover topics like woodworking tools and machinery, woodwork math and measurement, wood species and their characteristics, wood finishing techniques like staining and applying topcoats, and problem-solving skills.

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For those who are willing to put in the time and effort, formal education can provide a solid foundation upon which to build a successful woodworking career. It also allows woodworkers to gain a reference point and learn from experienced instructors who can provide guidance and feedback.

Another valuable aspect of formal education for woodworkers is the networking opportunities it provides. By attending woodworking courses, you can meet other like-minded individuals, including potential employers or collaborators. Building a network of contacts in the woodworking industry can open doors to more working opportunities, higher salary prospects, and even the possibility of starting your own woodworking business.

It’s important to note that while formal education is helpful, it doesn’t guarantee success or a high salary. Woodworking is a hands-on craft, and the most important skills are learned through practice and experience. Many woodworkers become highly skilled without ever setting foot in a formal woodwork course.

So, whether you choose to pursue formal education or teach yourself, the key is to keep learning and improving your skills. Woodworking is a constantly evolving field, with new technologies and techniques being developed all the time. Stay willing to learn, be open to new ideas, and always be ready to adapt to changes in the industry. With the right mix of skills, experience, and a passion for woodworking, you can make a successful career out of creating beautiful wooden pieces.


What is the average salary for a woodworker?

The average salary for a woodworker varies depending on factors such as experience, skill level, location, and employer. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for woodworkers was $33,190 in May 2020.

Is a formal education required to become a woodworker?

A formal education is not always required to become a woodworker, but it can be beneficial. Many woodworkers learn their craft through on-the-job training or apprenticeships, while others may choose to pursue a degree or certification in woodworking or a related field. It ultimately depends on the individual and their career goals.

What is the job outlook for woodworkers?

The job outlook for woodworkers is expected to decline by 5 percent from 2019 to 2029, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This decline is primarily due to advances in technology and automation, which have resulted in fewer job opportunities in the industry.

What skills are important for a woodworker to have?

Several skills are important for a woodworker to have, including woodworking techniques, knowledge of various tools and equipment, the ability to read blueprints and plans, attention to detail, problem-solving skills, and good hand-eye coordination. Creativity and an understanding of design principles are also beneficial for creating unique and aesthetically pleasing woodworking projects.

Can you make a living from woodworking?

Yes, it is possible to make a living from woodworking. Many woodworkers are able to earn a steady income through their craft by selling their products, working on custom projects for clients, or even teaching woodworking classes. However, it requires a combination of skill, business acumen, and dedication to be successful in this field.

What is the average salary for a woodworker?

The average salary for a woodworker varies depending on experience and skill level. Entry-level woodworkers can expect to earn around $30,000 to $40,000 per year, while more experienced woodworkers with specialized skills can earn upwards of $60,000 per year or more.

What education is required to become a woodworker?

Formal education is not always required to become a woodworker, but it can be beneficial. Many woodworkers learn through apprenticeships or on-the-job training. However, some vocational schools and community colleges offer programs in woodworking that can provide valuable skills and knowledge.

Dave Pennells

By Dave Pennells

Dave Pennells, MS, has contributed his expertise as a career consultant and training specialist across various fields for over 15 years. At City University of Seattle, he offers personal career counseling and conducts workshops focused on practical job search techniques, resume creation, and interview skills. With a Master of Science in Counseling, Pennells specializes in career consulting, conducting career assessments, guiding career transitions, and providing outplacement services. Her professional experience spans multiple sectors, including banking, retail, airlines, non-profit organizations, and the aerospace industry. Additionally, since 2001, he has been actively involved with the Career Development Association of Australia.