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Career and Education Opportunities for Cabinet Makers in Chicago, Illinois

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for cabinet makers in the Chicago, Illinois area. About 4,700 people are currently employed as cabinet makers in Illinois. By 2016, this is expected to grow 2% to 4,780 people employed. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for cabinet makers are expected to grow by about 9.1%. In general, cabinet makers cut, shape, and assemble wooden articles or set up and operate a variety of woodworking machines, such as power saws, jointers, and mortisers to surface, cut, or shape lumber or to fabricate parts for wood products.

Cabinet makers earn approximately $17 hourly or $36,460 yearly on average in Illinois. Nationally they average about $13 per hour or $28,980 per year. Incomes for cabinet makers are better than in the overall category of Furniture in Illinois, and better than the overall Furniture category nationally.

There are two schools within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can study to be a cabinet maker, among 180 schools of higher education total in the Chicago area. Given that the most common education level for cabinet makers is some college courses, you can expect to spend a short time training to become a cabinet maker if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Cabinet Maker

Cabinet Maker video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, cabinet makers cut, shape, and assemble wooden articles or set up and operate a variety of woodworking machines, such as power saws, jointers, and mortisers to surface, cut, or shape lumber or to fabricate parts for wood products.

Cabinet makers match materials for color and texture, giving attention to knots and other features of the wood. They also produce and assemble components of articles such as store fixtures and high-grade furniture. Equally important, cabinet makers have to verify dimensions, and check the quality and fit of pieces in order to insure adherence to given requirements. Finally, cabinet makers prepare and operate machines, including power saws and shapers, to cut and shape woodstock and wood substitutes.

Every day, cabinet makers are expected to be able to control and manipulate objects at a fine level of detail. They need to control objects and devices with precise control. It is also important that they move quickly in order to hold onto or control objects and devices.

It is important for cabinet makers to measure and mark dimensions of components on paper or lumber stock before cutting, following blueprints, to insure a tight fit and quality product. They are often called upon to attach components and subassemblies together to fashion completed units, using glue, dowels, nails, screws, and/or clamps. They also bore holes for insertion of screws or dowels, by hand or using boring machines. They are sometimes expected to trim and scrape surfaces and joints to ready articles for finishing. Somewhat less frequently, cabinet makers are also expected to perform final touch-ups with sandpaper and steel wool.

Cabinet makers sometimes are asked to dip or spray assembled articles with protective or decorative finishes such as stain or lacquer. They also have to be able to apply Masonite and vinyl surfacing materials and perform final touch-ups with sandpaper and steel wool. And finally, they sometimes have to measure and mark dimensions of components on paper or lumber stock before cutting, following blueprints, to insure a tight fit and quality product.

Like many other jobs, cabinet makers must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Welder. Use hand-welding or flame-cutting equipment to weld or join metal components or to fill holes, indentations, or seams of fabricated metal products.
  • Woodworking Machine Setter and Operator. Set up, operate, or tend woodworking machines, such as drill presses, lathes, and wood nailing machines.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Cabinet Maker Training

Ivy Tech Community College-Northwest - Gary, IN

Ivy Tech Community College-Northwest, 1440 E 35th Ave, Gary, IN 46409-1499. Ivy Tech Community College-Northwest is a medium sized college located in Gary, Indiana. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,701 students. Ivy Tech Community College-Northwest has an associate's degree program in Cabinetmaking and Millwork/Millwright which graduated one student in 2008.

Prairie State College - Chicago Heights, IL

Prairie State College, 202 South Halsted Street, Chicago Heights, IL 60411-8226. Prairie State College is a medium sized college located in Chicago Heights, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,368 students. Prairie State College has a one to two year program in Cabinetmaking and Millwork/Millwright which graduated four students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.