You’re at the beginning of building your career and are looking for more than a job to pay your rent. You want a career where you will grow and learn – a career that utilizes up and coming technologies – a career that you can be proud of. Look no further than the wood industry. From cabinetry to flooring to furniture design, the wood industry of today is more than your high school shop class.

What’s more, 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.

Starting a new wood manufacturing job with hands-on training can pay over $10,000 more a year than a job that requires a four-year degree.

On-The-Job Training

When just starting out on your post-high school journey, it can be beneficial to have options for on-the-job training. You have to look no further than the wood industry. Many times these skilled jobs begin with hands-on training, such as an internship or apprenticeship, where you can learn from experienced, wood industry professionals who have already created a career for themselves. Learning how to use computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) as well as other technologies are often taught with hands-on training, while also providing you with a paycheck from day one.

Working in the wood industry also provides for a variety of opportunities to showcase your skills. One such path could be constructing an elaborate interior for a high-end home or office building, or producing cabinets for a functional and attractive high-end kitchen. These careers often offer starting salaries at $50,000 a year, but can have starting salaries be as much as $70,000. That’s not too bad for starting out on a career path.

Even throughout 2020’s economic struggles, jobs in the wood industry remained strong. Those working in construction – both new builds and renovations – saw work remain steady as people spent more time investing in their homes. Choosing a focus such as flooring, cabinetry, or wood technology ensures career growth.

Wood technology

Cutting-Edge Technologies

Because wood manufacturing is a tried and true profession, you might not be aware of the new technologies available for you to master. Here are a few of them:

  • CAD/design (CADD): This technology is for design and technical documentation. It replaces manual drafting with a computer-based automated process. In the wood industry, CADD can help design cabinets and flooring for a variety of industries.
  • Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) software: CAM software is a tool that uses numerical control to design instructions that drive computer numerical control (CNC) machines, streamlining the process for drilling and cutting. This tool is often used in high-quality wood manufacturing.
  • Robotics: Robotics are used for highly-detailed wood manufacturing, such as designing guitars. In this highly competitive field, robotics are used to design complex shapes or custom orders.
  • Complex machinery: As noted above, CNC machines are now commonplace in the wood industry, from laser cutters and high-powered drills to mills and lathes – all of which require highly-skilled operators and technicians to monitor and maintain the equipment.

Just The Beginning

As the wood industry continues to grow and incorporate new technologies, this launching point is just the beginning for both the industry and for you. Starting a new wood manufacturing job with hands-on training can pay over $10,000 more a year than a job that requires a four-year degree. Not only that, but wood industry jobs are often more available. Starting your career immediately while being paid to learn your craft can put you years ahead of your classmates.

These are just a few of the ways that a career in wood manufacturing is more than your high-school shop class. Want to learn more? Check out the career resources at for more ideas on how you can kickstart your career path today.