Woodworking is popularly used in various trades to design, carve, or build objects out of wood. There are several schools in the United States that offer apprenticeship programs, but not many colleges in the USA provide an associate degree, woodworking specialization and professional certificates in woodworking. So, if you’re interested in getting a woodworking degree or simply want to take up woodworking as a skill, you’ve come to the right place.
We are going to be looking at some of the best woodworking courses, classes, and schools in the United States, so that you don’t waste your time searching for them.
Woodworking Schools Overview
Woodworking programs often lead to undergraduate degrees or a professional certificate, while prospective students can choose between advanced and basic skills programs. These are commonly provided by technical and community colleges. We understand the difficulty faced by students who want to take up woodworking or carpentry and have therefore, highlighted the schools that provide the best formal education programs in woodworking in the United States.
These schools are renowned for the comprehensiveness of their programs and offer an extensive range of training techniques that are designed to prepare graduates for success in entry-level careers, and students also have the chance to specialize in their area of interest.
1. Red Rocks Community College
The Fine Woodworking Department at Red Rocks Community College in Arvada, CO has the second-biggest woodworking program in the United States. The Associate of Applied Science in Fine Woodworking is the highest-degree offered in woodworking at this school.
However, there are several professional certificate programs that can be found in the specialized sub-field of woodworking like, woodworking fundamentals, luthier fundamentals, cabinet maker, wood turners, joiner, artisan, and craftsman.
2. Palomar College
Palomar College in San Marcos, CA offers facilities that include three labs with industry-standard equipment and machinery that involves a Haas VF-3 CNC Router. Palomar College has the Department of Cabinet and Furniture Technology that offers Associate of Science degrees and certificate programs in guitar making technology, case furniture construction/manufacturing, carving technology, lathe turning technology, veneering technology, table and chair manufacturing, cabinetmaking and millwork, and woodworking skills technology.
The same curriculum is used in the A.S. and certificate programs with the only exception being that students in the associate degree programs must fulfill all general education requirements.
3. Long Beach City College
The School of Trades and Industrial Technologies at Long Beach City College in Long Beach, California, offers a multitude of certificates and degrees that prepare students for a career in their desired technological field. The school has an Associate of Science degree or you can go for the Certificate of Accomplishment in Carpentry.
How to Become a Woodworker?
You’ll need to have a high school diploma or equivalent to become a woodworker, but there are some entry-level jobs that can be learned in less than a year but becoming proficient will require several years of on-the-job-training.
You will also need to be comfortable using computer-controlled machinery, which is extremely important today. The increasing sophistication of machinery has forced many employers to search for applicants that have either a high school diploma or equivalent.
People looking for woodworking jobs can improve their job prospects by getting trained in computer applications or math. There are woodworkers who have acquired their skills by taking courses at community colleges or technical schools.
Others managed to do it by attending universities or by getting trained in wood technology, production management, future manufacturing, and wood engineering. These programs prepare students for jobs in management, engineering, production, and supervision, and have become integral due to the advancement and complexity of woodworking technology.
Education is going to help you a lot in getting a woodworking job, but woodworkers gain most of their training primarily from on-the-job scenarios. This is where they learn and develop skills from experienced woodworkers and beginner level workers are mainly tasked with basic tasks like placing a piece of wood through a machine and then stacking the product at the end of the process.
Once they have gained the necessary experience, new woodworkers can then start performing more complex tasks without any supervision. In a month’s time they would have learnt all basic job tasks and machine operations. If you plan on becoming a skilled woodworker, you should be ready to put in the effort as it takes several months and even years to become skilled. The most skilled woodworkers can set up machines, plan work sequences, and read blueprints.
Licensing and Registration Requirements
Although it’s not required that you are licensed to become a woodworker, getting certified will work in your benefit as it demonstrates your professionalism and competence. It may also help you advance in your profession, and ‘The Woodworker Career Alliance of North America’ offers a national certificate program that has 5 progressive credentials, which adds more credibility to your work as a woodworker.
Important Qualities of a Woodworker
Woodworkers are tasked with manufacturing various kinds of products like furniture and cabinets using laminates, wood, and veneer. They generally incorporate and combine different materials into wood, and because of that they must have certain qualities that help make them who they are. So, if you plan on becoming a woodworker, here are the qualities you must work to develop:
· Technical Skills –
Woodworkers need to interpret and understand design drawings and technical manuals for various machines and products.
· Physical Strength –
Woodworkers need to be super strong as they are often required to lift heavy and bulky pieces of wood.
· Physical Stamina –
Woodworkers are standing for prolonged periods and perform repetitive movements as it is a crucial part of their job. They are standing for most of the day and perform similar functions.
· Mechanical Skills –
Using hand tools like wrenches and screwdrivers is also required for setting up, calibrating, and adjusting machines with most modern technology systems requiring woodworkers to use computers.
· Math Skills –
Basic knowledge of math is helpful for those working in manufacturing where technology continues to advance, and woodworkers must know about basic geometry to visualize three-dimensional wooden objects like a cabinet or piece of furniture.
· Dexterity –
Woodworkers need to make precise cuts with various hand tools and power tools, so they must keep a steady hand and have great hand-eye coordination.
· Detail Oriented –
Woodworkers must pay attention to details to keep themselves safe and meet specifications of their wood working project.
Woodworking is a dependable profession that not only pays well but also offers rewarding experiences for the individuals involved. However, it’s not easy work, and you’ll need to keep on studying new techniques to stay ahead in the field. The woodworking courses we have mentioned will help you improve your basic woodworking skills and allow you to have a long and distinguished career.
Let us know of other woodworking courses and classes or schools that you have attended in the US that had a profound impact on your woodworking skills.