California Occupational Guides

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Summary Guide for

Cabinetmakers and Bench Carpenters in California

May also be called: Cabinet Assemblers; Cabinet Builders; Cabinet Installers; Frame Builders; and Wood Machinists

What Would I Do?

Cabinetmakers, also known as Bench Carpenters, are skilled woodworkers. They design, make, repair, alter, and install fine wooden cabinets, fixtures, and furniture. Cabinetmakers use machines and hand tools that include various saws, shapers, planers, jointers, routers, mortisers, tenoners, molders, sanders, planes, chisels, and wood files.

Most cabinet shops have adequate lighting and ventilation, although not all shops are heated or air-conditioned. Cabinetmakers must often wear protective equipment for ear, eye, skin, and lung hazards. The work involves moderate physical activity and usually includes heavy lifting. Most Cabinetmakers work a standard workweek.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Cabinetmaker may appeal to those who enjoy activities that involve practical, hands-on problems and solutions.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

Wages for those in a union apprenticeship program begin considerably less than journey-level wages and increase every six months.

The median wage in 2020 for Cabinetmakers and Bench Carpenters in California is $36,560 annually, or $17.58 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2020Low
(25th percentile)
(50th percentile)
(75th percentile)
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2020 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
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Cabinetmakers and Bench Carpenters may receive benefit packages that include medical, dental, vision, and life insurance, vacation and retirement, and limited sick leave. Those who are self-employed are responsible for purchasing their own insurance and funding their retirement plans.

What is the Job Outlook?

Limited growth is expected for Cabinetmakers due to computerization of machinery, increased imports, environmental control measures, and the use of alternative wood products. However, opportunities are expected to be good for those workers who specialize in items such as moldings and custom cabinets. Employment in all woodworking occupations is highly sensitive to the homebuilding market and economic cycles. During economic downturns, workers may be laid off or have their hours reduced.

How Do I Qualify?

Employers look for applicants who have at least a high school diploma. Most Cabinetmakers and Bench Carpenters learn their trade on the job. Starting with simple tasks, beginning Cabinetmakers can progress to more complicated jobs as they learn the trade.

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers remains one of the most effective job search methods. Newspaper classified ads and Internet job listings provide helpful local job leads. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at and CalJOBSSM at

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

Learn More About Cabinetmakers and Bench Carpenters