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Upholsterers cover furniture, such as sofas and chairs, with fabric, leather, and other upholstery materials.

  • Avg. Salary $40,805.00
  • Avg. Wage $20.65
  • Minimum Education Less than high school
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed < 1500
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Custom Upholsterer, Production Upholsterer, Re-upholsterer

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Upholsterers (7341) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Upholsterers (H511) 
  • 2011 NOC: Upholsterers (6345) 
  • 2016 NOC: Upholsterers (6345) 
Interest Codes
The Upholsterer is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).

Interest in precision working to lay out, cut, fabricate and install upholstery in aircraft, motor vehicles, railway cars, boats and ships; may install, fabricate, maintain and repair interior components of aircraft, such as seats, coverings, drapes, cargo nets, flooring, closets, bins and panels


Interest in compiling information to install padding and underlays and to fasten covering materials to furniture frames


Interest in speaking with customers to discuss upholstery fabric, colour and style; may repair furniture frames and refinish wood surfaces

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Oct 03, 2019

Custom upholsterers usually work in small shops where they make new furniture from standard patterns. They make, or sometimes rebuild, an entire piece of furniture. They may help customers choose fabrics and styles. Some highly skilled custom upholsterers design and produce furniture according to customer specifications.

Production upholsterers work in factories. They most often specialize in one area of new furniture production. They work on an assembly line performing one function. They then pass the furniture on to others to finish.

Re-upholsterers recondition old furniture. In general, they:

  • Remove the old cover and padding
  • Examine the springing and, if required, replace it with webbing, coil springs, or sinuous springs
  • Build the chair or sofa up with loose fibre stuffing, cotton, felt, or foam padding
  • Shape and form the stuffing
  • Measure and cut fabric to fit each part of the furniture
  • Shape and mark fabric for sewing
  • Sew fabric and cushions
  • Fit the fabric to the furniture
  • Staple or sew the fabric in place

Re-upholsterers also fix furniture by repairing split seams, replacing broken springs, and replacing foam in seat cushions.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Upholstery work requires considerable standing, bending, and stooping. It may involve handling heavy pieces of furniture.

Upholsterers use a variety of hand tools. These include measuring tapes, pneumatic staplers, hammers, scissors, and pliers. They must be careful to avoid injury. They work indoors in shops or factories. These are usually well lit and clean, although sometimes dusty.

Hours of work vary. Production upholsterers most often work shifts. Custom upholsterers and re-upholsterers who own their own shops may work long, irregular hours to meet customer demands.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Upholsterers need:

  • Manual dexterity and co-ordination
  • Good vision
  • Physical strength and endurance
  • Self-motivation
  • Problem-solving skills

A flair for colour and the creative use of fabrics is an asset.

Upholsterers should enjoy using tools and machinery to perform precision tasks. They should like having clear guidelines and methods for their work. They should feel at ease dealing with customers.

Educational Requirements
Updated Oct 03, 2019

Most upholsterers are trained on the job. Mastering all the skills necessary to work on their own takes up to 5 years.

Production upholsterers begin on the simpler functions in an assembly line and progress to more complex tasks. Custom upholsterers start with routine tasks such as removing old fabric, padding, or springs. They move on to more difficult tasks as they gain experience.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Oct 03, 2016

Most production upholsterers work in furniture factories. Some work at home and are paid by the amount of fabric used. Most custom upholsterers are self-employed. However, some work in small shops that employ fewer than 5 people. Some upholsterers work for furniture stores and businesses, such as:

  • Hotel chains
  • Railways
  • Airlines
  • Automotive manufacturers

Experienced production upholsterers may advance to supervisory positions depending on their experience, management ability, and the size of the business. Experienced custom upholsterers may open their own shops.

In Alberta, 84% of people employed as upholsterers work in the following industries:

The employment outlook (pdf) in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • Size of the occupation

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

In Alberta, the 6345: Upholsterers occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 0% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 0 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Inexperienced upholsterers may start at minimum wage. (As of October 1, 2018, the minimum wage in Alberta is $15.00 per hour. For more information, see Alberta Employment Standards.) Experienced upholsterers may be paid by the hour, the yard, or the metre, or on a piecework basis. This depends on the employer and the kind of work.

The upholstery business is highly competitive. Profits made by self-employed custom upholsterers depend largely on a combination of market conditions and their:

  • Upholstery skills
  • Business skills
  • Reputation

Upholsterers are part of the larger 2016 National Occupational Classification 6345: Upholsterers.

According to the 2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Upholsterers occupational group earned on average from $18.57 to $24.58 an hour. The overall average was $20.65 an hour. For more information, see the Upholsterers wage profile.

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training

Updated Mar 31, 2019. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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