If you are creative, like working with your hands and working with a high degree of accuracy, you will enjoy working as a cabinetmaker. You will build and repair both custom and production type fixtures and furniture.
As a cabinetmaker, you will build wood units, create detailed drawings, make layouts and patterns, set-up and operate woodworking equipment before cutting, shaping, molding and assembling components. During assembly, you will use glue, clamps, dowels, nails and screws to secure pieces together. Once you have completed the assembly, you will apply veneer, finishing products or apply plastic laminates.
During your career, you will need to estimate materials, select woods or other materials and consult with customers on projects. With furniture, you may do refinishing or restoration work and installations of cabinetry and millwork. You will use a variety of tools, including manual or hand tools as well as Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) equipment.
This is a non-compulsory trade – individuals can work in the trade without certification if the employer deems the individual to have the skills of a journeyperson. However, individuals who are working in the trade and learning the trade must become a registered apprentice.
Start your career by finding an employer who is willing to indenture you as an apprentice or gain experience with our Pre-Employment Cabinetmaking program.
As a cabinetmaker, you will work indoors, often in a shop environment or installations in residential or commercial properties and can be exposed to noise, airborne sawdust and chemicals from painting and stripping.
You will work with power tools in a shop with automotive bays, often found in industrial settings, with exposure to noise from power tools and exhaust gases. Your career will be dynamic and you will be constantly adapting to industry changes and automotive design trends.
As a journeyperson, you will likely make a wage between $19 - $28 an hour depending on your employer.
After becoming a journeyperson, you may advance to supervisory positions or take on new apprentices. Some journeypersons go on to run their own businesses – we can help you build your business with our Blue Seal business certificate.
Students who have the following characteristics see greater success in the auto body trade:
- Good customer service and communication skills
- An eye for detail and a desire to do precise work
- Good eyesight for selecting woods and to look for surface imperfections.
- Good hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity
- The ability to visualize a finished product from drawings, blueprints and other specifications
- A commitment to safe work habits
Upon successfully completing the required working hours and technical training periods, graduates will be awarded journeyperson status by Alberta's Apprenticeship and Industry Training. Cabinetmaking is a Red Seal Endorsed trade – a recognizable standard that allows tradespeople to work across Canada.
Admission and Completion
To enter an apprenticeship, you must have the educational qualifications required or recommended education for the trade to which you apply.
Entrance Requirements are monitored and set by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training.
Successful completion of the following courses:
- English 10-2
- Math 10-3
A pass mark in all five Canadian General Educational Development (GED) tests
Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training Entrance Exam
Apprentices with an Alberta High School Diploma that includes the following courses:
- English 30-2
- Math 30-3
- Physics 20 OR Chemistry 20 OR Science 20
- Related career and technology studies (CTS) courses
How to register
Registration for technical training is run through Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training. Learn how you can register for your next intake.
After you register
Email is the primary source of communication after you have registered for your intake. Please ensure your personal email account is managed appropriately to receive our emails, files and communications. We recommend you add the sait.ca domain to your safe senders' list or you risk missing critical email messages.
Apprentices in the cabinetmaking trade will spend 4 years (four 12-month periods) of on-the-job training and technical training at SAIT. Technical training will be 8 weeks each year.
|Find an employer willing to indenture you as an apprentice|
|Apply as an apprentice with AIT and your employer|
|Sign contract and recieve record book|
|Written entrance examination or get approved for previous transcripts|
|Complete first period of on-the-job-training (1360 hours)|
|Register at SAIT|
|Attend first period of technical training for 8 weeks at SAIT|
|Pass first period Trade Qualification Exam|
|Complete second period of on-the-job training (1360 hours)|
|Register at SAIT|
|Attend second period of technical training for 8 weeks at SAIT|
|Pass second period Trade Qualification Exam|
|Complete third period of on-the-job training (1360 hours)|
|Register at SAIT|
|Attend third period of technical training for 8 weeks at SAIT|
|Pass third period Trade Qualification Exam|
|Complete fourth period of on-the-job training (1360 hours)|
|Register at SAIT|
|Attend fourth period of technical training for 8 weeks at SAIT|
|Pass fourth period Trade Qualification Exam|
|Become a Journeyperson|
|Write and pass the Interprovincial Qualification Exam|
Technical Training Performance
To be successful in technical training, an apprentice must pass each section of the course and pass the AIT exam. The passing grade for each section in the course is a 65%. A passing mark on each Trade Qualification Exam and the Interprovincial Qualification (or Red Seal Exam) is 70%.
Domestic tuition and fees*
|Period||Tuition fees||SAIT fees||Saitsa fees||Lab & Material fees||2020/21 total|
Student support fee: $25
Student technology fee: $25
Books and supplies*
- Books or modules along with other items for class average out to $600 per period.
- It is recommended that you do not purchase books or modules ahead of time as they might be outdated by the time you attend classes and they cannot be returned to the bookstore.
- Personal Protective Equipment will be required for the program, which may be an additional cost to apprentices.
*Tuition, fees, books and supply costs are subject to change.
Membership to the SAIT Wellness centre - including an ice arena, swimming/diving pool, gymnasium, squash and racquetteball courts and eight room is available to apprentices at a discounted rate.
Financial planning tool
Our apprenticeship cost calculator can help you make a financial plan by identifying and adding up your expected expenses while attending SAIT — find out exactly how much money you need to save, seek or borrow to get you through your studies.