Career outlook for cabinet maker

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures.

Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would make pieces of wooden furniture such as chairs, tables, chests of drawers and storage or display cabinets.

You’d design a piece of furniture, build it and decorate it for someone to use in their home or workplace. You might also restore antiques or repair damaged furniture.

You would:

  • Draw designs for furniture
  • Decide what type of wood to use
  • Work out the quantity needed
  • Decide what method you will use to construct it
  • Buy the wood from suppliers such as timber yards
  • Cut, shape and plane the wood using hand, power and computer-controlled tools
  • Fix the parts together
  • Add brackets, hinges, handles and locks
  • Finish the piece of furniture, for example with veneers, lacquers or French polish

You would need to understand, draft or adapt designs and technical drawings.

If you deal directly with customers, you would also discuss designs and agree prices with them.

Working conditions


Your working hours will depend on whether you are employed by a company or self-employed.If you are working in a factory, for example, you would usually work a basic 39-hour week, which could involve shiftwork.If you are self-employed, you would arrange your own working hours. You may sometimes need to work longer hours and at weekends to meet deadlines.


You would work in a workshop or factory.

UK employment status





Self employed


Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Time management
  • Managing resources
  • Implementing ideas
  • Developing a plan
  • Attention to detail
  • Verbal communication
  • Observation
  • Designing
  • Creative
  • Working with numbers

Skills Explorer

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.


Work-based qualifications such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification in  Furniture and Furnishings and Interiors (SVQ level 2/3) or complete a National Certificate (SCQF level 2-6), Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) in Furniture craft, design, restoration or production.

To enter a National Certificate (SCQF level 2-6) in Furniture requires National 4/5 qualifications.

To enter a Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) requires National 4/5 qualifications and one to two Highers.

Some courses will require a portfolio of your work.

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Art & Design
  • Design & Manufacture
  • Technogies subjects such as Practical Woodwork

Helpful to have

Qualifications that demonstrate craft and design skills such as Skills for Work Construction Crafts (SCQF level 4).