Skilled Trades Careers

How to Become an Upholsterer in America in 2024

DateJanuary 5, 2024
how to become an upholsterer

Are you passionate about furniture and design? Then you might want to consider a career in upholstery. Whether you're a novice looking to learn the trade or a seasoned professional seeking new opportunities, SkillHero is your go-to resource for increasing your employability.

Learning how to become an upholsterer means working with furniture, creating custom pieces, and providing different types of fabric treatments. With the rise of vintage and sustainable design trends, the demand for skilled upholsterers is expected to increase in the coming years.

While there are online courses that can teach you how to work with fabric, becoming a certified upholsterer is necessary if you want to focus on working in the industry. Claim your free SkillHero account here, then finish reading this article so you can get started in this skilled trade.

What is an upholsterer and what do they do at work?

An upholsterer is a skilled trade worker who specializes in reupholstering and repairing furniture, as well as creating custom upholstery for new furniture pieces. Upholsterers work in a variety of settings, including furniture stores, upholstery shops, and manufacturing companies.

Trade paths in this industry include aerospace upholstery, automotive upholstery, marine upholstery, and several others. Most upholstery companies focus on serving specific types of clients so they can specialize their services and provide maximum value.

A day in the life of an upholsterer may involve removing old fabric and padding from furniture, repairing or replacing frame components, cutting and sewing new materials, and adding finishing touches such as buttons or decorative details.

What is the average salary for upholsters?

The average salary for upholsterers varies based on experience and skill level. Apprentices typically earn around $28,300 per year, journeymen make an average of $39,600 annually, and masters can earn up to $59,660 or more each year.

Upholsterer average salary SkillHero

Geographic location, industry, and specialization also play a significant role in determining pay. Upholsterers working in metropolitan areas or in industries such as furniture manufacturing tend to earn higher salaries. Specializing in high-end or custom upholstery work such as antique chairs can also lead to increased earning potential.

Upholsterers with formal education, relevant skills, and a strong portfolio may have access to better job prospects and higher salaries, but ongoing education after high school is not strictly required.

Is it hard to get started in upholstery

Entering the upholstery trade requires passion, dedication, and an appreciation for traditional techniques. It can be challenging to get started, as mastering the craft takes time and patience. However, seeing a worn piece of furniture transformed into something beautiful and functional is incredibly satisfying.

Because upholstery only requires 12 months of apprenticeship it can be considered more accessible than other trades. It doesn't require as much physical strength or tolerance of adverse work environments as others, but physical endurance and attention to detail are definitely necessary.

How to become an upholsterer in the United States

If you've always been drawn to the art of upholstery and have a passion for reviving old furniture, a career as an upholsterer may be the perfect fit for you. Becoming an upholsterer requires a combination of formal training, practical experience, and a commitment to the craft.

Here's an overview of the core steps you need to follow to become an upholsterer.

Get a high school diploma or equivalent

A high school diploma or its equivalent, such as a GED, is crucial for pursuing a career in the skilled trades. Many trade schools and apprenticeship programs require applicants to have a high school education to ensure they have the necessary foundation for learning and skill development.

For those who may not have completed high school, alternative options like obtaining a GED or completing adult education programs can provide the necessary credential to pursue opportunities in the skilled trades.

Create a skilled trade resume

A great resume is essential for standing out in the skilled trades industry. Employers look for candidates with work experience, certifications, skills, achievements, and industry-related training.

SkillHero's resume builder is a valuable tool for crafting a standout resume. It provides access to a database of industry skills vetted by experts and an easy way to share your resume with employers who are actively hiring.

Once you've crafted your resume, you can share it with local businesses directly on SkillHero or export it as a PDF to print or use on other online platforms. Remember to update your resume whenever you obtain a new certification or achieve a new position at work.

Find an apprenticeship program

Apprenticeship programs are crucial for providing hands-on training and on-the-job learning for those pursuing a skilled trade like upholstery or furniture making.

These programs offer a pathway for individuals to develop their craft under the guidance of experienced professionals, gaining valuable skills and practical knowledge along the way.

SkillHero's ApprenticeConnect feature helps students and aspiring skilled trade workers to find apprenticeship opportunities in upholstery and other trades. We connect individuals with reputable companies and skilled mentors, offering a platform for learning and growth in their chosen trade.

Opportunities apprenticeconnect upholsterer SkillHero

When seeking a good apprenticeship, it's important to look for opportunities that provide a structured learning environment, exposure to various techniques and materials, and the chance to work on real-world projects. Recruiters typically seek candidates who are dedicated, eager to learn, and have a strong work ethic in the field of upholstery.

ApprenticeConnect is one of the best tools for starting your journey towards a rewarding career in upholstery, so sign up for a free SkillHero account to access its opportunities.

Network within the industry

Networking is an essential tool in the skilled trades industry, offering a wide range of valuable connections, job opportunities, and professional growth.

With SkillHero's connections tab, users can easily connect with industry professionals, access training resources, and explore job opportunities.

You can also join professional organizations and attend industry events to connect with other trade workers who are on a similar professional level. This can lead to finding new job opportunities or bringing new clients to your current company.

Obtain and update relevant certifications

Certifications in the upholstery trade are essential for showcasing a worker's skills and knowledge in the industry. They provide a way for professionals to demonstrate their qualifications and stay up to date with the latest industry standards.

Some of the most commonly held certifications in upholstery include Master Fabric Craftsman and the Master Upholsterer Certification. These credentials add value to an individual's skills and enhance their credibility in the trade. Employers often look for workers with specific certifications, making it crucial for those in the upholstery trade to pursue and maintain these qualifications.

Certification programs often regular regular updates to maintain current best practices, so remember to recertify as needed.

Who should become an upholsterer?

An upholsterer should possess attention to detail, patience, creativity, and good hand-eye coordination. They should also have good problem-solving skills and be able to work well independently or as part of a team.

Working as an upholsterer offers a range of benefits, including a short 12 month apprenticeship period. This trade also provides opportunities for creative expression and the ability to work on a variety of projects, from furniture to automobile interiors. Upholsterers can pursue different career paths, including working for furniture companies, interior designers, or automotive companies.

Ready to start a rewarding career as an upholsterer? Sign up for a free SkillHero account and gain access to opportunities, training, and resources in the skilled trades.