Woodworking is a fascinating field, and you can get extremely attached to it. Some woodworkers have been in this field for years, some as amateurs and some as professionals. Whatever the level of involvement, you need considerable experience and preferably, but not mandatorily, a qualification.
Many universities and colleges offer woodworking courses in the US. In this post, we provide a list of some of those colleges and the details of the courses they offer. Joining a program in any one of these colleges can make you into an expert woodworker.
There is much discussion as to whether woodworking is an art, craft, or a trade.
However, what finally emerges is that you can make a lucrative career out of woodworking whichever way you look at it.
Colleges with Woodworking Degrees
There are many colleges where you can do a woodworking degree. However, you may be confused as to which are the best colleges, so we have compiled a list of the best colleges that we could find:
University of Cincinnati
The University of Cincinnati has over 40,000 College of Engineering and Applied Science Alumni. The college offers undergraduate, graduate, major and minor programs. The woodworking programs are non-degree courses.
In this course, you learn about the safe operation of woodworking power tools and hand tools. The course also teaches everything about wood species and their properties. It introduces you to basic wood joinery techniques and using sheet material.
We get to make side tables, coffee tables, cabinets with doors, and drawers during the course. The student learns how to use a material list for dimensioning the lumber and how to make the layout of furniture parts and mill them for final assembly.
The more artistic can take up this course which calls for a minimum level of artistic skill. The course includes freehand sketching, lettering, and dimensioning. In addition, you will learn how to read and make drawings for furniture design and construction.
The course is in two parts. The first part deals with the various aspects of furniture drawing in detail. You will also get an overview of computer systems like CAD. The second part of the course goes into full detail about CAD drawing development.
CNC Router Woodworking
Here you learn the different aspects of CNC routers concerning woodworking projects. Once you complete this course, you will understand how to use CNC routers safely and grasp concepts like router bit selection, tool path generation, and various machining practices.
Wood Carving I & II
This course consists of introductory and advanced sections. To begin with, you learn how to sharpen chisels and knives. Then you will be taught how to prepare wood stock for carving and the different layout patterns.
The course covers the different forms of carving, such as chip carving, bas-relief, and sculpture. The student starts with basic carving projects in part I and moves on to more complicated and intricate projects in part II.
Wood Turning I & II
Here again, you have basic and advanced courses that are complementary to each other. The student starts with the basics of woodworking lathes, tools, and how to sharpen tools.
During the course, you will have to complete table legs and parts of chairs. You will also have a basic introduction to bowl turning.
Wood Technology (three parts)
The wood technology courses are in three parts, independent of each other. During this course, you learn about how to use and maintain woodworking machinery and how to apply wood finishes.
You will also deal with the alignment of machinery, usage of clamps, jigs, wood bending fixtures, and veneering and lamination techniques.
The course teaches wood anatomy, forestry and tree farming concepts, identification of wood and environmental aspects of wood, government regulations, etc.
Wood Crafts Courses
Apart from the above courses, the college offers wood crafts courses. In these courses, you will make beautiful boxes and antique chairs like Windsor chairs.
Rochester Institute of Technology
Here is an institute that is committed to creativity and innovation. The Rochester Institute of Technology aspires to use technology to leverage arts and design capabilities.
The Rochester Institute of Technology was founded in 1829 to nurture and engage socially conscious and intellectually curious young minds. The college has a highly-developed research program and a variety of research-oriented academic programs. It also has campuses in China, Croatia, Dubai, and Kosovo.
The following programs are offered:
- Associate’s Degree in Woodworking
- Bachelor’s Degree in Woodworking
- Master’s Degree in Woodworking
The courses enable students to do various projects like chairs, tables, and contemporary lamps. In addition, the college organizes exhibitions to showcase the projects of the students.
A notable project is one undertaken by Kelly Cleveland in 2021, who created a handmade pipe organ.
Fox Valley Technical College (Appleton)
Woodworking is a major in the Fox Valley Technical College at Appleton. There are more than 200 high-tech occupational training courses offered which are beyond the scope of this post. But you can log on to the official website for further details.
Woodworking Technician 1
Here you can learn the basic woodworking skills required to become a professional woodworker. You get to learn about layout and measurement as well as how to use woodworking and milling machinery.
The course also deals with identifying wood species and the usage of associated materials like adhesives, metal fasteners, and abrasives.
Woodworking Technician 2
This course is a progression of Woodworking Technician I. It deals with training in different stationary machines like sliding table saws, wood shapers, and molders.
During this course, you will be given orientation on the following:
- Layout and sawing operations
- Milling operations
- Shaping and molding
- Drafting for the woodworking industry
- Material properties and operation
- Sanding and panel processing
- Frameless cabinetry
- Veneering, finishing, and joinery methods
- Blueprint Reading for the woodworking industry
- CNC router operation
- Traditional cabinetry
Western Technical College (Wisconsin)
This college aims at producing students to impress their employers with their skills and experience gained from the accredited programs. The woodworking program of Western Technical College includes various aspects of woodworking, focusing on teaching employable skills. Here are the primary woodworking courses offered:
Cabinetry with Western Technical College starts with an introduction to the design and construction of cabinets. Once you are done with the theory part, the course introduces you to tools and machinery used for making cabinets.
You will also learn finishing techniques and safety practices. All this is done under a lab environment to enable perfect projects with the best facilities.
Framing and Construction
Framing and construction is surprisingly precise carpentry skill that you need to use in construction. In this course, you will deal with tools, equipment, safety practices, and general techniques required in the construction field.
Blueprint reading and creation are also taught. The life-like scaled projects you will work on prepare you adequately to work with a framing crew once you join a real project. Evening courses are also available for those who have commitments during the day.
Florida Panhandle Technical College (Chipley)
The Florida Panhandle Technical College was founded in 1967 but was called the Washington-Holmes Area Vocational Technical Center. Today the college has over 30 vocational training programs.
The Florida Panhandle Technical College is proud to support the local workforce with its graduates. The two primary woodworking programs offered by the college are in carpentry and cabinetmaking:
A good carpenter is a great asset to society, and we cannot do without them. If you are well-trained as a carpenter from a reputed college like the Florida Panhandle Technical College, you will always have a job.
The carpentry program of this college consists of four modules as under:
- Introduction to carpentry
- Rough framing carpentry
- Finish trim carpentry
- Foundation and form carpentry
Upon completing the course, the student will be well-versed in a variety of carpentry and construction functions.
As you may be aware, cabinetry is not a skill that everyone acquires. It takes years of experience, and doing a course in cabinetmaking can make a great difference. The modules offered by the Florida Panhandle Technical College are as follows:
- Cabinetmaker Helper
- Cabinet Finisher
- Cabinet Assembler
Once you complete this course, you will be proficient in all aspects of cabinetmaking. You should be able to work independently, whether you work for someone or if you are self-employed.
Wallace Community College (Dothan)
Founded in 1949, Wallace Community College is committed to excellence. It offers a variety of programs, including an excellent cabinetmaking program as follows.
The Wallace Community College cabinetmaking program is a short certificate program. It combines classroom and lab experiences to provide a firm foundation for making the student into a fine cabinetmaker.
The course covers all aspects of cabinetmaking like using hand and power tools, blueprint reading, making estimates, and identifying different types of wood and composite building materials.
To qualify for this program, you need to perform the basic functions required. Although you don’t need a high school diploma or GED, you have to exhibit a high level of proficiency both theoretical and practical in woodworking.
Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology (Lancaster)
The Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology trains students for working as skilled employees. Established in 1905, this college has over 1,300 students with 24 technical programs.
The precondition for admission to this college is that the student should be a resident of Pennsylvania. In addition, they should have lived there for at least one year at the time of applying. Exceptions are made for military veterans.
Thaddeus Stevens College is committed to meeting the low-income group’s requirement, providing opportunities for students to become employable and independent. The woodworking courses offered by the college are cabinetmaking and carpentry.
Cabinet Making and Wood Technology
After repeated surveys in the area and across the country, it was revealed that there is a shortage of sufficiently skilled and motivated workers. The particular requirement is for furniture making and kitchen cabinets.
There are architectural millwork industries that need to employ people with furniture making and cabinetmaking skills. The college recognizes this fact and created this project-oriented program.
In the cabinetmaking and wood technology course, you will get to make several pieces of fine furniture. In doing this, you can showcase your woodworking skills through a project of your choice.
The college has a housing project where students learn to list and manufacture millwork items for use in a residential house. Students also furnish a complete kitchen.
The students receive exposure to three major woodworking disciplines through lectures and demonstrations – architectural work, kitchen cabinetry, and fine furniture.
The carpentry technology course gives a positive and professional experience to the students. They get to use the latest equipment and apply the newest technology on par with today’s building industry.
The course is for two years, during which the students get ready for working with a light commercial construction workforce and building residential homes.
Northcentral Technical College (Wisconsin)
This Northcentral Technical College has a history of teaching technical matters to students and serving the communities and businesses for more than 100 years. There are six campuses located at Wausau, Antigo, Medford, Phillips, Spencer, and Wittenberg.
Located at Antigo, Wisconsin, the Northcentral Technical Center of Excellence is a sprawling property of 27,000 square feet. Students learn everything about the woodworking industry and forest products in this institute.
The curriculum includes woodworking using equipment and tools with cutting-edge technology. On completing the course, the students are employable in various areas of the woodworking and construction field.
The four woodworking programs offered by Northcentral Technical College are:
- Wood Science Associate Degree
- Wood Technology Technical Diploma
- CNC Router Certificate
- Furniture Design and Craftsmanship Certificate
Wood Science Associate Degree
The courses offered by the Wood Technology Center of Excellence aren’t entirely academic. You get to participate in industry-based training sessions for renowned woodworking-related companies.
Furthermore, the college customizes the sessions according to the current needs. Therefore, it results in bringing in experts from particular areas of the industry to add relevance to the learning.
During this course, you will get trained on dry kiln operation, CNC router usage and maintenance, furniture design and construction, log inspection, and softwood lumber inspection.
Wood Technology Technical Diploma
This course is a one-year diploma that imparts hands-on knowledge about the forest products industry. It covers subjects like lumber inspection, machine operation, quality assurance, and material science.
Estimates reveal over a million jobs in the woodworking industry in the United States. There are 64,000 in Wisconsin, and there is a lot of scope with this diploma. It is good for those who aim to further their education in the woodworking industry.
The course covers concepts like furniture design and craftsmanship and business and engineering technology.
This course deals in providing orientation on how to program, use and operate a CNC wood router extensively used in woodworking workshops the world over. In-depth knowledge of how to use a CNC router will give you a leading edge over others in the field of woodworking.
Furniture Design and Craftsmanship
If you are enrolled in any of the other courses mentioned here, you may feel it worthwhile to enroll for this one as well. The Furniture Design and Craftsman course empowers you to apply scientific knowledge to furniture design and ultimately develop your style in the furniture that you create.
Gateway Community College (Washington Campus)
The Gateway Community College is embodied in the principles of having a pioneering vision and building a legacy of innovation in serving the community over the years. The first technical college was established in Arizona 50 years ago.
This college has several “firsts” to boast about. It was the first to create and use community advisory communities and offer classes at remote locations away from the campuses. It was also the first college to create tailor-made courses according to industry requirements and the first to install a computer on their premises.
With an understanding that carpentry is the biggest trade in the construction industry, GateWay Community College lays great stress on its carpentry courses. The college has a powerful carpentry department where students are taught the basics of carpentry, use tools, lumber identification, furniture and cabinet making, and much more.
Associate in Applied Science Degree in Construction Trades: Carpentry
This course of the GateWay Community College provides a comprehensive orientation to a student who will work as a supervisor or manager in the construction industry.
Certificate of Completion in Construction Trades: Carpentry
Here, the students hone their specific skills in the carpentry trade. The course covers framing, exterior and interior finish, concrete formwork, bridge construction, roofing, stair construction, and transit levels and lasers.
Savannah Technical College
Savannah Technical College is located in coastal Georgia, providing a market-driven technical education in different locations like Effingham, Liberty, and Chatham counties. The college serves over 4,500 credit students per semester in almost 150 technical instructional programs.
The college plays the role of an economic and community development partner for the region and directs all its courses to the various needs of the American business community. A board of directors presides over the proceedings of the college.
Many woodworking courses come under the introductory category with no prerequisites, and intermediate and advanced courses have prerequisites. You have to have attended particular courses previously.
The woodworking courses offered are as follows:
- Introduction to Woodworking
- Introduction to Wood Turning
- Furniture Design
- Windsor Chair
- Intro to Face Frame Cabinetmaking
- Introduction to Cabinet Vision
- Alphacam and the CNC Router
- Intermediate & Advanced courses
- Introduction to Solid Wood Casegoods
- Introduction to Tables
- Decorative Boxes
- 32 mm System of Cabinetmaking
- Advanced Solid Wood Casegoods
- Outdoor Seating
- Intermediate Face Frame Cabinetmaking
For further information on woodworking courses available at Savannah Technical College, you can click on this link.
These are ten of the best colleges with woodworking degrees in the United States. You could start your search for a career in woodworking by applying to any of these colleges. Of course, there are more colleges and universities that you could try too.
We have tried to provide as much accurate information as possible. However, tuition fees and other charges are subject to change, so you would do well to contact each university or college to get an up-to-date estimate of the total expenses involved.
Some programs cover the cost of textbooks. Some cover only a portion, while others don’t provide textbooks at all. Whatever the case, these are all good universities and colleges, and you can expect a good career in woodworking on graduating from any one of them.