Carpenters and cabinet makers are versatile tradespersons who design, build and repair a wide range of structures. Carpenters work on commercial and residential buildings by finishing walls, laying wooden floors and making concrete forms. Industrial carpenters are employed on the construction sites of large projects such as bridges and highways. Cabinet makers build and repair furniture, often specialising in areas such as kitchen cabinetry or office furniture.

Tradespeople in carpentry jobs and cabinet making jobs are skilled at using hand and power tools to cut, shape and install a range of materials including wood, plastic and fiberglass. Professionals in these fields must be able to follow specifications and have excellent attention to detail.



    Carpenters and cabinet makers play a major role in the building industry. Employment prospects are dependent on construction trends, but overall demand for skilled carpenters is high. Employment rose steadily over the past five years, and growth is expected to be strong up to 2020. Carpenters are currently listed on the National Skills Shortage list in Australia.

    Employment prospects for cabinet makers are not as strong, but cabinet makers benefit when demand for carpenters is high.

    Click here for current job vacancies with Australia’s leading recruiter for carpentry and cabinet making jobs. 


    Projections from the Australian Department of Employment, 2015 to 2020. Note data is '000.


    Joiner, Furniture Polisher, Building Contractor, Upholster, Wood Tradesperson, Wood Carver, Stonemason, Labourer.


    • Study blueprints and drawings

    • Draw up specifications in consultation with clients and colleagues

    • Use design software

    • Advise on the best materials

    • Ensure materials are matched by grain, texture and colour

    • Provide production requirements

    • Estimate costs for materials and labour

    • Plan methods for cutting and shaping materials based on specifications

    • Mark out the dimensions for cutting on lumber stock or paper

    • Operate tools and machinery such as drills, power saws and shapers

    • Ensure that building materials are cut to the right size

    • Maintain tools and machinery

    • Use computerised equipment for measuring and cutting

    • Construct the framework for buildings and assist with the installation

    • Build and erect scaffolding

    • Install windows and moulding in new builds and renovations

    • Assist with the construction of pre-fabricated buildings

    • Use nails, screws and glue to attach components

    • Use hand tools such as wood files and chisels to trim excess material and shape edges

    • Repair furniture and fixtures

    • Install hinges, catches and draw runners in cabinets and cupboards

    • Check dimensions on completed projects to ensure they meet specifications

    • Finish furniture and other structures by sanding, varnishing and adding decorate touches

    • Instruct junior tradesmen and


    Carpenters earn an average of $29.36 an hour but skilled tradespersons can earn much more than this. Form workers often earn above the average salary. Cabinet makers earn less at $22.56 per hour.

    Pay for apprentice carpenters increases each year of their apprenticeship. Because there is a skills shortage in this area, apprentices may be able to claim payments for tools, and financial support is available for adults who are retraining.


    Entry to carpentry and cabinet making jobs is generally through an apprenticeship. A high school education to at least Year 10 is a common pre-requisite. Apprentices learn skills on the job and through off-the-job training with a Registered Training Organisation.

    Most apprenticeships take four years to complete. School-based apprenticeships are available which allow students to begin training for carpentry and cabinet making jobs while still studying. Pre-apprenticeships and pre-vocational courses can also provide a gateway into this field by increasing chances of gaining an apprenticeship.

    Recognition of Prior learning may be possible with some courses. This shortens the length of time it will take to gain other trade-related qualifications.

    Suitable courses for those seeking to find carpentry & cabinet making jobs include:

    • WHS Induction Training

    • Certificate III in Carpentry

    • Certificate I in Construction

    • Certificate III in Cabinet Making

    Many carpentry and cabinet making jobs specify the following:

    • Trade qualifications


    • Previous experience


    • White and/or blue card


    • Awareness of safety regulations


    • Steel-capped boots and safety wear such as gloves and glasses


    • Own hand tools


    • Driver’s license


    • Health check


    • Pre-employment screenings for alcohol and drugs


    Strength:  Carpenters and cabinetmakers are required to lift heavy tools and perform a range of physically demanding tasks such as cutting, shaping and sanding materials. They must possess stamina and good physical health as they often work in cramped spaces and may be exposed to dust and other allergens. They may be required work outdoors in challenging weather conditions.  

    Creativity:  Carpenters and cabinet makers need to be creative thinkers as they are required to design furniture and create plans for building projects. They must be able to come up with innovative solutions and concepts to meet the needs of diverse clients.

    Business Skills: A sound grasp of business principles is required to calculate costs and profit margins for projects. Professionals in these roles must be able to bid on jobs and secure contracts. They need to possess good negotiating skills and an understanding of building requirements in different industries.

    Manual skills: Dexterity and hand-eye co-ordination are essential in carpentry & cabinet making jobs. Tradesmen work constantly with their hands, using a wide range of tools to measure, cut and shape materials.  

    Maths skills: Carpenters and cabinet makers are required to calculate dimensions, measure lengths and determine quantities and costs for quotes. The ability to perform calculations quickly and accurately is vital in these roles.

    Problem solving: Tradespersons are frequently called on to resolve problems in the design and building phases of a project. They must be able to apply analytical skills to a problem and come up with the best solution.

    Attention to Detail:  An aptitude for details is essential in carpentry and cabinet making jobs, as these roles involve intricate measurements and attention to the smallest details. Accuracy is important as even small errors can weaken structures and breach safety standards.

    Concentration: The ability to concentrate for extended periods of time and follow detailed specifications is indispensable in carpenter jobs and cabinet maker jobs. Workers in these fields must be able to focus on the task at hand and follow projects from the planning phase through to completion.