Patternmakers (Wood) Certification Requirements and Hiring Process

Jan 15, 2024

8 Min Read

1. What is the process for becoming certified as a patternmaker in wood?

To become a certified patternmaker in wood, follow these steps:

1. Research the trade: The first step is to learn as much as you can about the trade of patternmaking in wood. This includes understanding the different types of patterns, materials used, and techniques involved.

2. Obtain education or training: Many technical schools and community colleges offer courses or programs in woodworking or carpentry that include patternmaking. You can also find apprenticeship programs with local businesses or woodworkers.

3. Gain hands-on experience: While education and training are important, gaining practical experience is crucial for honing your skills as a patternmaker. Consider volunteering at a woodworking shop or completing internships to gain hands-on experience.

4. Learn specific software programs: Many patternmakers today use computer-aided design (CAD) software to create their patterns. It is important to learn how to use these programs to improve your efficiency and accuracy.

5. Apply for certification: Once you have gained enough knowledge and experience, you can apply for certification through a professional organization like the Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI) or the Woodwork Career Alliance (WCA). These organizations offer certifications for various levels of expertise in patternmaking.

6. Prepare for the certification exam: Before taking the certification exam, it is important to review all the material and skills required by the certifying organization. This may include studying CAD software, creating sample patterns, and brushing up on general woodworking knowledge.

7. Take the exam: The certification exam typically consists of a written and practical portion where you will be evaluated on your knowledge, skills, and ability to create accurate patterns.

8. Maintain your certification: To maintain your certification, you may be required to complete continuing education courses or workshops. Make sure you stay up-to-date with industry trends and advancements in technology.

9. Gain work experience: Becoming certified can open up new job opportunities for you as a patternmaker. Use your certification and skills to find work in woodworking shops, furniture companies, or other relevant industries.

10. Continuously improve your skills: As with any trade, patternmaking requires constant learning and improvement. Keep up-to-date with new techniques and technologies to stay competitive in the field.

2. Are there specific qualifications or experience required to apply for a patternmaker position?

To apply for a patternmaker position, most employers require candidates to have a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent. Some organizations may prefer candidates with an associate’s degree or certification in fashion design or patternmaking. Additionally, previous experience in pattern making, preferably in the fashion industry, is highly desirable.

Other qualifications that may be required include expertise in relevant software programs such as Adobe Illustrator and CAD (computer-aided design) software. Strong knowledge of garment construction techniques and understanding of different fabrics and their properties is also essential for a successful career as a patternmaker.

Some organizations may also look for candidates with strong artistic skills, attention to detail, problem-solving abilities, and the ability to work efficiently under pressure in a fast-paced environment.

It is important for candidates to thoroughly review the job requirements listed by each employer to ensure they meet the specific qualifications needed for the position they are applying for.

3. How long does the certification process typically take?

The certification process can vary in length depending on the type of certification, the complexity of the evaluation process, and the organization responsible for certifying. Overall, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to complete the certification process. Some certifications may even require ongoing maintenance and recertification every few years.

4. Are there any special training or education programs available to prepare for the certification exam?

Yes, there are many training and education programs available to prepare for certification exams. These programs can be found online or in person and may include study materials, practice exams, and review sessions taught by experienced instructors. Some programs are offered by professional organizations or universities, while others are provided by certification exam companies themselves. It is important to thoroughly research and compare different training programs to find the one that best fits your learning style and schedule.

5. Are there different levels of certification for patternmakers in wood?

Yes, there are several levels of certification for patternmakers in wood, including entry-level, intermediate, and advanced certifications. These levels may have different requirements and focus on different skill sets and techniques. Some organizations or institutes may also offer specialty certifications for specific types of woodworking patterns or processes.

6. Is it necessary to have prior woodworking experience before pursuing a career as a patternmaker?

Yes, it is beneficial to have some prior woodworking experience before pursuing a career as a patternmaker. Many employers prefer candidates with some hands-on experience and knowledge in woodworking techniques, materials, and tools. This experience can also help patternmakers understand the construction process and potential design challenges that may arise. However, some employers may offer on-the-job training or apprenticeships to individuals with no prior woodworking experience.

7. Who administers the certification exam and what is its format?

The certification exam is administered by the relevant certification board or agency, such as the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) or the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). The format of the exam varies depending on the field and level of certification, but may include a combination of written tests, practical skills assessment, and oral exams. Some certifications also require ongoing continuing education and recertification exams to maintain proficiency.

8. How often are recertification exams required, if at all?

The frequency of recertification exams varies depending on the certification program. Some certifications do not require recertification, while others may require it every 1-3 years. It is important to check with the specific certifying organization for their recertification requirements.

9. Can the certification be obtained through an apprenticeship program?

Yes, it is possible to obtain certification through an apprenticeship program. In some cases, completing an apprenticeship program may even fulfill the requirements for obtaining a particular certification. However, it ultimately depends on the specific certification program and its requirements. It is important to research and confirm with the certifying organization to determine if an apprenticeship program is accepted for certification.

10. Is there a fee associated with taking the certification exam?

Yes, there is typically a fee associated with taking the certification exam. The exact cost may vary depending on the specific certification and testing center. It’s best to check with the certifying organization for the most up-to-date and accurate pricing information.

11. What types of skills are assessed in the certification exam?

The types of skills assessed in the certification exam can vary depending on the specific certification, but they generally include knowledge of industry concepts, technical skills related to the technology or tool being certified, problem-solving abilities, and critical thinking skills. Some exams may also include communication and collaboration skills, project management skills, and hands-on practical tasks.

12. Are there any physical requirements for becoming a certified patternmaker in wood?

There are no specific physical requirements for becoming a certified patternmaker in wood. However, since the job involves working with various tools and equipment, it may be helpful to have good dexterity and hand-eye coordination. Some tasks may also require standing for extended periods of time or lifting heavy materials, so being physically fit can be beneficial. Overall, as long as one is able to safely and effectively work with wood, there are no specific physical requirements for this profession.

13. Is prior knowledge of different types of wood and their properties important for passing the certification exam?

Yes, having prior knowledge of different types of wood and their properties can be helpful in passing the certification exam for woodworking. It will not only help in understanding and following instructions but also in choosing the right materials for a specific project, ensuring its quality and durability.

14. Are there any age restrictions in order to become certified as a patternmaker in wood?

Age restrictions may vary depending on the certification program or organization you are applying to. However, most programs and organizations do not have specific age requirements to become certified as a patternmaker in wood. As long as you meet the eligibility criteria and successfully complete the required training and exams, you can become certified at any age. It may be beneficial to have some experience or knowledge in woodworking before pursuing certification.

15. Is it necessary to have design or technical drawing skills to pass the certification exam?

No, design or technical drawing skills are not required to pass the certification exam. However, having some knowledge in these areas may be beneficial for certain sections of the exam. The exam primarily tests your understanding of the principles and concepts related to your chosen certification, so as long as you have a thorough understanding of those, you should be able to pass the exam successfully.

16. Can international candidates also pursue this certification?

Yes, the PMP certification is available to candidates all around the world who meet the eligibility requirements. The exam is available in multiple languages and can be taken at testing centers in most countries.

17. Is previous experience working with patterns or blueprints required for becoming certified?

No, previous experience working with patterns or blueprints is not required for becoming certified. However, having familiarity with these concepts may be beneficial in understanding and completing the certification requirements.

18. What documents or materials do I need to provide when applying for certification?

The specific documents and materials required for certification may vary depending on the certification body or organization. Generally, you will need to provide information about your education, work experience, and any relevant training or certifications. You may also need to provide proof of identity, such as a passport or driver’s license. Additionally, some certifications require letters of recommendation from employers or colleagues, and others may require you to pass an exam or complete a project. It is best to check with the specific certifying body for their requirements and application process.

19.Is it common for employers to require candidates to be certified as patternmakers in wood?

There is no singular answer to this question as requirements for certifications vary depending on the specific employer and industry. Some employers in industries such as furniture-making or woodworking may prefer or require their patternmakers to have certifications, while others may not place as much emphasis on certification. It is best to research the specific job market and industry you are interested in to get a better understanding of what qualifications employers are typically looking for in patternmakers.

20.Are there any additional courses or trainings that can help improve my chances of passing the certification exam and getting hired as a patternmaker?

Yes, there are some additional courses or trainings that may help improve your chances of passing the certification exam and getting hired as a patternmaker, such as:
1. Advanced Patternmaking Techniques: This course covers advanced methods and techniques used in patternmaking, including draping, grading, and creating technical flats.
2. Computer-Aided Design (CAD) for Patternmaking: This course teaches how to use computer software specifically designed for patternmaking, which is becoming increasingly popular in the industry.
3. Fashion Illustration: Having a strong understanding of fashion illustration can be beneficial for patternmakers, as it helps them communicate their designs effectively.
4. Sewing and Garment Construction: A basic knowledge of sewing and garment construction can help you understand how patterns translate into actual garments and make improvements or adjustments accordingly.
5. Fabric Knowledge: Understanding different types of fabrics, their properties, and how they behave is an essential skill for patternmakers.
6. Industry-Specific Certifications: There are also specific certifications offered by industry organizations that focus on different aspects of patternmaking, such as fitting, grading, or production pattern development.
7. Internships/Apprenticeships: Working under an experienced patternmaker through internships or apprenticeships can provide valuable hands-on experience and help you hone your skills.
8. Professional Development Workshops/Seminars: These events offer opportunities to learn from experts in the field and stay updated on industry trends and techniques.
Additionally, staying updated on industry publications and following blogs or social media accounts related to patternmaking can also help expand your knowledge and skills.


Stay Connected with the Latest