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Woodworking and solid craftsmanship are two areas that have endured despite widespread mass production. All over the country, time-honored traditions of skillful furniture design and manufacturing are being passed on from generation to generation. But whereas previous students of woodworking and fine craftsmanship had to assume lengthy apprenticeships in order to master their skills, the students of today can enroll in any number of woodworking programs that specialize in methodology, technique, distribution, retail, and all the other areas necessary for those who want to work professionally in this particular industry.
Although the specifics of furniture design and manufacturing might differ from region to region and school to school, the basic curriculum is fairly standard at most woodworking programs. Selecting and curing lumber, staining, carving, sculpting, welding, tanning, preserving, and general tool maintenance are but a small sampling of what one might learn at a typical woodworking program. No less important, however, is the business side of woodworking. Coordinating supplies, distribution, inventory, retailers, and wholesalers is extremely important. In addition, one must also learn areas such as accounting, marketing, and advertising. There also exist certain regulations and laws governing lumber, especially if it is imported.
According to the US Department of Labor, opportunities in certain woodworking fields will be less plentiful in the coming years due to increased competition and decreased consumer demand. However, it predicts that job opportunities will be most plentiful for those with sufficient training in skilled craftsmanship and carpentry. This is especially true for those who specialize in moldings, cabinets, stairs, windows, and custom furniture.
Source: US Department of Labor