From the walls and ceilings that shelter us to the floors beneath our feet, wood is the foundation for where we work and live. Modern home and office flooring, high-quality cabinetry, work and leisure furniture — the demand for quality wood products is skyrocketing, as is the demand for highly-skilled wood industry jobs. Plus, with home sales on the rise, construction and other positions requiring wood manufacturing skills are expected to be in high demand for years to come.

A new wood industry job can pay $2,000 to $11,000 more a year than many jobs that require a bachelor’s degree.

Wood: An Industry Ripe with Job Opportunities

Why should you consider a career in the wood industry? Once perceived as a “blue collar” job, today’s wood industry professional utilizes AI-powered robots, Computer numerically controlled (CNC) machines, CAD/design equipment, and other state-of-the art technology to transform raw materials into valuable goods.

Acquiring these high-tech skills often begins with paid on-the job training, which can lead to careers such as machine operator or CAD/design positions staring at more than $50,000 a year. Some high-level custom millwork jobs start as high as $70,000.

Working with wood also provides the opportunity to hone craftsmanship skills, such as designing and building guitars and other musical instruments. Today, this type of wood crafting often involves using high-tech design tools and CNC laser cutters, mills, drills and lathes to produce artisan-quality products on a massive scale.

For those willing to learn a new trade, wood manufacturing provides skills that translate into long-term, lucrative careers that defy old-school, blue-collar stereotypes. And that’s just the tip of the opportunity iceberg.

Woodworker router

It’s a New World of Wood

As noted earlier, new construction demand is opening the door to numerous career opportunities for wood industry professionals, and those numbers are expected to continue to grow.

But wood careers span beyond construction. Wood career opportunities might include:

  • Flooring: Manufacturing, distribution, retail, finance — the flooring industry offers a wide range of career opportunities, such as operations, machinists, sales and marketing.
  • Cabinetry: Today’s cabinet makers and manufacturers have advanced the art of cabinetry, which combines artisan skills with high-tech fabrication, design equipment and the latest CAD technology.
  • Millwork: Architectural millwork and related wood manufacturing is a growing field that employs advanced machinery requiring mechanical and math skills to calibrate and operate.
  • Wood Tech: Wood technology and machinery job openings are expected to continue to climb as more engineers and technicians are needed for CAD/design, machine programming and equipment monitoring and maintenance.

Carve Your Own Career Niche

Today’s wood industry jobs are more plentiful than many jobs that require a four-year college degree – and provide more career paths to grow. In fact, a new wood industry job can pay $2,000 to $11,000 more a year than many jobs that require a bachelor’s degree.

This is because the wood industry values hands-on experience and mechanical aptitude, rewarding these skills with opportunities, such as:

  • Machinists/Operator: Learn how to operate wood manufacturing machines, such as drill presses, lathes, routers, sanders, planers or other CNC equipment in starting gigs that pay nearly $40,000 a year.
  • Skilled Technician: Learn how to read architectural drawings and blueprints, set up CNC machinery controls, apply industry standards to monitor proper cutting, milling, boring and finishing and installation.
  • Flooring Installer: Earn more than $40,000 a year while using your math skills to calculate material requirements and measurements. Cut and lay finishing materials for residential and commercial buildings.

These and other wood industry careers are well suited for individuals with hands-on, real-world experience, such as manufacturing or the military. The wood industry looks for individuals with experience such as machine operations, equipment assembly, or maintenance and repair. These hands-on skills can quickly advance a wood career from entry-level machine operator to a cabinetmaker, or even to a senior manager.

Are you still asking yourself, “Why wood?” Learn more by exploring career resources at Explore these wood industry resources and get the information you need to start building a future.